Types of Snapping Turtles

By John Lindell; Updated April 24, 2017
Types of Snapping Turtles

In the United States, there are two types of snapping turtles. The common snapping turtle has a wide range, while the alligator snapping turtle is restricted mostly to the southeastern states.


Snapping turtles have powerful jaws and quick reflexes, giving them the ability to deliver a painful and dangerous bite. On land, they will typically defend themselves, but in the water, they normally retreat rapidly to safety.


The common snapping turtle can weigh as much as 70 lbs., can reach lengths of 20 inches and live in the wild for as long as 40 years.


The common snapping turtle lives across the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. It inhabits slow-moving rivers, ponds, streams and lakes.


The alligator snapping turtle includes fish in its varied diet as well as frogs, snails, snakes and other types of turtles. It will sit on the bottom in the water motionless waiting to ambush the prey that swims by.

Hefty Turtle

Some alligator snappers can weigh in the range of 200 lbs., making this turtle the largest freshwater species in the world.

About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.