środa, 20 lipca 2011
Tortoise - Common snapping turtle
The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is a large freshwater turtle of the family Chelydridae. Its natural range extends from southeastern Canada, southwest to the Rocky Mountains as far east as Nova Scotia and Florida. This species and the larger alligator snapping turtle are both widely referred to as snapping turtles or snappers (though the common snapping turtle, as its name implies, is much more widespread overall).
Common snappers are noted for their belligerent disposition when out of the water, their powerful beak-like jaws, and their highly mobile head and neck (hence the specific name "serpentina", meaning "snake-like"). In some areas they are hunted very heavily for their meat, a popular ingredient in turtle soup. These turtles have lived for up to 47 years in captivity, while the lifespan of wild individuals is estimated to be around 30 years
Chelydra serpentina have rugged, muscular builds with ridged carapaces (though ridges tend to be more pronounced in younger individuals). The carapace (upper shell) length in adulthood may be nearly 50 cm (20 in), though 25–7 cm (9.8–2.8 in), is more common, with C. serpentina and its subspecies commonly weighing 4.5–16 kg (9.9–35 lb). Exceptionally large (often captive and overfed) individuals may reach 34 kg (75 lb).
The common snapping turtle is not an ideal pet. Its neck is very flexible, and the turtle can bite its handler even if picked up by the sides of its shell. The turtle can amputate a finger with its powerful jaws. It will make a hissing sound when it is threatened or encountered; however, when in the water and unprovoked, they are fairly docile toward humans.
It is a common misconception that common snapping turtles may be safely picked up by the tail with no harm to the animal; in fact, this has a high chance of injuring the turtle, especially the tail itself and the vertebral column. Lifting the turtle with the hands is difficult and dangerous. Snappers can stretch their necks back across their own carapace and to their hind feet on either side to bite. Also, their claws are sharp and capable of inflicting significant lacerations.
It may be tempting to rescue a snapping turtle found in a road by getting it to bite a stick and then dragging it out of immediate danger. This action can, however, severely scrape the legs and underside of the turtle and allow for deadly infections in the wounds.