Family Chelydridae The Snapping Turtles

The family Chelydridae is represented by two species, the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and the alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii).


Today members of the family Chelydridae are found in the Western Hemisphere, and primarily in the Northern Hemisphere.  However it should come as little surprise that such a prehistoric looking family of turtles has a fairly well documented fossil history dating back to the Paleocene with the discovery of Protochelydra zangleri.


Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)


Alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)
Snapping turtles can be found in various habitats.  These photos were both taken in Anderson County, Texas.  One depicts a swamp (above left) and the other depicts a seasonally flooded forest.  While the swamp provides a more permanent  habitat for these turtles heavy rains can cause the water levels in creeks, rivers and lakes to rise often flooding adjacent areas.  This is one manner by which these turtles relocate to different habitats.  Both the common and alligator snapping turtle have been found in Anderson County, Texas.