Blackstone Parks Conservancy

Snapping Turtles


The Leviathan of York Pond. Photo by Karen Longeteig

There are at least two mature snapping turtles (Chelydra sepentina) in York Pond, probably weighing between 10 and 35 pounds.  Snapping turtles like shallow ponds or streams, fresh or brackish.  They eat plants but also hunt and eat fish, frogs, reptiles, birds, and small mammals.

When about 20 years old, the female leaves the water to find sandy soil in which to lay 25 to 80 eggs. Lots of other animals will hunt and eat the eggs or baby turtles, but once they are a certain size, they have few natural enemies, and may live to about 100 years.

In winter they hibernate in mud although sometimes they can be active even under the ice, being remarkably cold tolerant.  They will usually just swim away if approached by humans in the water. Pollution, overcrowding, or disturbance can drive them to travel long distances overland in search of new habitat.  They are feisty when on land and it is wise not to approach them. Turtles have such long necks that they can turn their heads and bite you. (Gleaned from Wikipedia)