Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

Largest turtle in the Montreal area. Difficult to spot as it moves slowly, mostly submerged just below the surface of the water, and barely lifting its head out of the water from time to time to breath.

How to Identify

Usually size is not a good characteristics to distinguish a species from other. Different in this case. Adults are up to half a meter in length, way larger than other turtles in the area. Also different to other turtles is the bulky, muscular build around head and legs.

Where and When to Spot

Best time to look for the Common Snapping Turtle is spring, after the ice has melted before the growth of the foliage which will provide perfect cover later in spring. Occasionally, you may see this species on land while crossing from one pond to another.


Common Names

Common Snapping Turtle

Schnappschildkröte (de)
Tortuga mordedora (es)
Tortue serpentine (fr)


Chelydra serpentina