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Snapping Turtles Mating

jim bloc-snappers mating ct156p-snapping-turtles

Although Snapping Turtles may mate any time between April and November, much breeding activity takes place during April and May. Snapping Turtle mating appears fairly aggressive, with the male chasing the female, grasping the posterior end of her carapace and then mounting her.  He holds on to the edges of her shell with all four legs, often biting her head and neck while he inseminates her.

The female Snapping Turtle can keep sperm viable in her body for several  months (and perhaps years).  Thus, there can be multiple paternity in egg clutches and it may even be  possible that a female’s eggs are fertilized in years when she does not mate.  (Thanks to Jim Block for photo.  To see a photo series of Snapping Turtles mating (and many other very fine nature photographs), go to

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9 responses

  1. judilindsey

    Mary, Wow! Great shot and incredible info. Thanks so much! Judi

    May 10, 2016 at 7:34 am

  2. mariagianferrari

    Wow–that’s truly amazing!

    May 10, 2016 at 7:50 am

  3. Peter Denis

    Thanks for this. I have one or two 15 lb snappers in my pond in Quebec about 15 miles north of Newport. They often spend time on the grass around the pond and seek the shade under our lawn chairs. They seem to like to listen to music which I play from my iPad. They gently bob their heads up and down when the music is playing. They no longer shy away when I am around, but they hiss at my Jack Russell when she barks at them. They are care-free pets!

    May 10, 2016 at 9:42 am

    • That is hysterical! So glad you tolerate their presence, even celebrate it!

      May 10, 2016 at 10:01 am

  4. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    What a great shot!! We have one in our pond that is the size of a sea turtle! Like 3 feet across! There are others too, so I’m sure the mating took place, haha. Would like to see that event some day. Thanks!

    May 10, 2016 at 11:02 am

  5. Just wondering, do you find the snapping turtles in your pond to be a problem for baby ducks and blue heron babies? I know they won’t climb trees, but if one falls into the water it’s going to end in a Little MacHeron! We have a beaver meadow that seems to have a troubled balance of nature due to a snapping turtle, and I am wondering if that is unusual or just nature’s way: Last summer the Canada geese goslings seemed to disappear, and at least one of the heron’s hatchlings vanished. We see things anthropomorphlogically(real word?)so maybe we are the ones out of balance!

    May 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    • Alice Pratt

      Near our back yard, in a small pond that used to feed a small cranberry bog…sadly, ……goslings definitely get slurped by snappers.

      May 10, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    • Yes, Helen, snappers eat ducklings, goslings, and young birds in addition to aquatic plants, fish, frogs and tadpoles, salamanders, insects, snails, leeches, worms, snakes, and small mammals. Somehow it all seems to balance out (until man gets involved!).

      May 10, 2016 at 7:58 pm

  6. Peter Denis

    My pond is quite small, about 160 ft X 80 ft. We often have visits by full grown herons who like our goldfish (originally 10 from a pet shop, now about 200, 16 years later) and our frogs. Occasionaly a goose family will overnight on the pond, on their way from a larger pond up behind us, on their way to Lake Memphremagog, but I have never noticed any goslings eaten by the snappers. We also have foxex in the nearby woods.

    May 13, 2016 at 4:54 pm

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