Why does a snapping turtle snap?

 The snapping turtle is a large tan, brown, or gray turtle with a big head and strong jaws. It has a very long tail with saw tooth-like scales along the top. It is nearly always in water, hiding in the muck in shallows or under stumps in deep pools.

 A snapping turtle’s plastron- the shell covering the belly- is small and leaves much of their body exposed. This means that it cannot pull its head and legs into its shell for protection against predators, as most other turtles can. Snapping turtles make up for this lack of body armour with an aggressive temperament- they snap at whatever annoys them!

 Snapping turtles have huge appetites. They eat insects, fish, frogs, snakes, and many kinds of plants. During the day, the snapping turtle usually lies quietly in the bottom of a dark body of water and opens its jaw to reveal a small pink worm-like lure in the back of its gray mouth. The lure attracts fish, and when the fish enter the jaws, the powerful jaws snap shut. In short, the snapping turtle snaps for two reasons- to catch its food, and for self protection.