Snapping Turtle


Snapping turtles are an institution in the Adirondacks. They are found commonly in murky rivers, streams, and bogs all across our region. Female snapping turtles lay eggs in June in soft patches of mud near bogs or marshy areas. Typically around a dozen eggs are laid. In early September the hatchlings dig to the surface and make their way to bog or lowland wet area, and then bury themselves its muddy floor until spring. Snapping turtles can be 3 feet long and weigh up to 50 pounds. They do not feed until after they have hibernated. therefore, they essentially spend the winters in hibernation underneath the ice.  


At 0 degrees Celsius, their metabolism shuts down to help them conserve energy. Oxygen supply underwater in the winter is low, so they must conserve energy whenever and wherever possible. Low water temperatures here are actually an advantage, as they help the turtle conserve oxygen. The turtles have an ability to buffer their blood with potassium and calcium ions, and to reduce the acidity of lactic acid, allowing them to better regulate their bodies. They are an amazing example of a species that has evolved to live in a region that has such harsh winters.