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                                                                      Snapping Turtle
                                                                 (Click here to see video)
 
Snapping turtles are the largest of the freshwater turtles inhabiting the United States. They are bold and aggressive fighters and their massive, sharp-edged jaws cause them to be the terror of most of the aquatic and semi-aquatic creatures.Large specimens of the common snapper can weigh 40 pounds. Common snapping turtles of that weight would have a carapace, or shell, about fourteen inches long.The shell of old individuals is quite smooth. The snapping turtle's appearance includes a carapace in dull olive or dark brown, with little or no markings, and a dull yellow plastron. The upper portion of the head is very dark as is the upper surface of the legs and tail which are yellowish underneath.Though the eyes are comparatively small, they have very good vision. The head and tail cannot be completely withdrawn into the shell.   They defend themselves in a manner similar to snakes by "striking" at enemies. The speed at which they strike rivals that of the rattlesnake. So quick is the movement that the eye is barely able to follow it. Backed up by a pair of sharp-edged, cutting mandibles and jaw muscles of tremendous power, the strike of these dangerous brutes may be followed by a serious injury.
 
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