The snapping turtle is Ontario’s most prehistoric-looking turtle species. Snappers can live to be over 100 years of age, but they cannot reproduce until they are 15–20 years old. This makes the death of a female of breeding age a very serious loss indeed.
The snapping turtle’s long tail has a series of triangular spikes along the top that are reminiscent of those of a stegosaurus. The carapace (upper shell) ranges from being tan or olive to black in colour. It has a coarsely serrated anterior (front) edge and three longitudinal ridges, and is often covered with algae. The plastron (lower shell) is very small. The maximum length of the carapace in this species is 47cm.
Snapping turtle nests contain up to 50 round eggs, which resemble ping-pong balls.