The Florida Snapping Turtle, also called the West Indian Snapping Turtle, is a species of the Testudines Order of Planktonic Casts (Arthropods, including snails). The toes are short and rounded with sharp claws, short and soft-shelled, and are equipped with powerful muscles for gripping and moving. Compared to other species of snapping turtles, this species of turtle is not well known. Occasional skull fractures and dislocations have been reported in captivity.
The Florida Snapping Turtle an inhabits the coastal plain of Florida east of the Ashley River, south of Saint Petersburg. Occurring in wet habitats along the beach line and in low marsh areas along the inlet of the Tributary stream of Port Saint John, they are sometimes referred to ashore turtles’ due to their tendency to hunt in and around the surf and tidal pools. West Indian snapping turtles are common in freshwater bodies in Florida such as the Osceola and Fort Walton Beach Manatee basins. Also referred to as Florida soft-shelled snapping turtles, Florida snapping turtle a are the second most common snapping turtles in Florida, and are in fact the third most common turtle in the United States. In captivity, snapping turtles have been known to reach up to 75 pounds; however, in the wild they are typically less than half that size.
Commonly referred to as the West Indian snapping turtle, these amazing little turtles are common in Florida’s coastal plain. As with all snapping turtles, West Indian turtles have poor eyesight due to lack of eye protection. Their mouth is lined with rough flesh, and they generally have a shell gland behind their lower jaw. These turtles also possess small, movable claws, which enable them to grasp and manipulate objects.
While it is believed that Florida snapping turtles are indigenous to the coastal areas of Florida, they are also frequently seen in lakes, ponds, slow streams, manholes, and swamps. They are omnivorous, feeding on crustaceans, fish, small frogs, other turtles, snails, insects, and even plants. These turtles have excellent eyesight and because of this quality are able to hunt on the ground as well as in the water. However, because of their poor eyesight, they usually end up being victims of predators before they can get a chance to make it back to the shore. Florida snapping turtles are great swimmers and are capable of traveling for long periods of time without swimming out of water.
Many people mistakenly think that West Indian turtles are the same as the leatherback turtle, which is native to the southeastern United States. Leatherback turtles are actually a separate species, however, and are not related to the Florida snapping turtle. Some people also confuse the West Indian turtle with the red footed turtle, which is a native to portions of the northern Caribbean Sea and South America. While the two turtles have some similar characteristics, they are not related and should never be confused with each other.
Florida Snapping Turtles is generally hardy and survive well in the wild. They are particularly friendly and loyal to their family members, but will usually attempt to avoid other reptiles and pets if they feel that they are threatened or unsafe. Florida snappers are generally captive bred, which can help conserve the species when breeding naturally in the wild is no longer possible. Many owners prefer to breed captive Florida snappers, which can ensure that there is enough population to provide food and cover for the hatchlings. Typically, most Florida snapping turtles hatch in late winter or early spring, although this can vary depending on environmental conditions.