How Fast Can Common Snapping Turtles Run

When it comes to turtles, most people think of them as slow and steady creatures. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, some turtles are surprisingly fast, like the common snapping turtle. Have you ever wondered how fast these turtles can actually run? Let’s dive in and explore the speed of common snapping turtles.

Common snapping turtles are known for their powerful jaws and aggressive behavior, but they also have some impressive physical abilities. Their muscular legs and long tails allow them to move quickly both on land and in water. But just how fast can they go? Join us as we investigate the speed and agility of these fascinating creatures.

how fast can common snapping turtles run

How Fast Can Common Snapping Turtles Run?

Physical Characteristics of Common Snapping Turtles

Common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) are one of the largest freshwater turtles found in North America. They are known for their powerful jaws and long tails which can be used as a weapon. The adult common snapping turtles can weigh up to 35 pounds and can grow up to 18 inches in length. They have a rough, brownish-green carapace (upper shell) and a yellowish plastron (lower shell).

The legs of common snapping turtles are short and sturdy. These turtles use their strong limbs to move on the ground and swim in the water. Their webbed feet are equipped with sharp claws that help them dig into the ground and hold onto their prey. Common snapping turtles have a unique characteristic of having a shell that is too big to be completely covered with their limbs.

Speed of Common Snapping Turtles

Common snapping turtles are not known for their speed. They are slow-moving creatures that prefer to spend most of their time submerged in water or buried in mud. However, when threatened or in search of food, they can move quite quickly.

On land, these turtles can move up to 3-4 miles per hour. They can also swim at a speed of about 2-3 miles per hour. Although they are not considered to be fast runners, they are efficient in catching their prey. They rely on their powerful jaws and sharp claws to capture their prey and do not need to chase them down.

Comparison with Other Turtles

Common snapping turtles are not the fastest turtles out there. Some other species of turtles are known to be much faster than common snapping turtles. For example, the leatherback sea turtle can swim up to 22 miles per hour, while the hawksbill sea turtle can swim up to 10 miles per hour.

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The painted turtle, which is another species of freshwater turtle, can run up to 3-4 miles per hour on land, which is similar to the speed of the common snapping turtle. However, they are much smaller in size and do not have the same strength and hunting abilities as the common snapping turtle.

Benefits of Common Snapping Turtles

Common snapping turtles are an important part of the ecosystem. They help control the population of fish and other aquatic animals by preying on them. They also help keep the waterways clean by scavenging on dead animals.

In addition, the shells of common snapping turtles are used for making decorations, jewelry, and other crafts. Their meat is also considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. However, it is important to note that common snapping turtles are now considered a threatened species in some areas and should not be hunted or killed.


In conclusion, common snapping turtles are not known for their speed, but they are efficient hunters and can move quickly when needed. They are an important part of the ecosystem and should be protected. While they may not be the fastest turtles out there, they are certainly one of the most fascinating and unique.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about common snapping turtles:

What is the average size of a common snapping turtle?

The average size of a common snapping turtle is around 12 to 15 inches in length and can weigh up to 35 pounds. However, some individuals can grow up to 20 inches and weigh as much as 50 pounds.

Female snapping turtles tend to be larger than males, and their size can vary depending on their habitat, diet, and age. In general, snapping turtles can live up to 30 years in the wild.

What do common snapping turtles eat?

Common snapping turtles are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. Their diet consists of fish, frogs, insects, small mammals, and even carrion. They also eat plants such as duckweed, water lilies, and algae.

Snapping turtles are known for their powerful jaws, which can crush bones and shells easily. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything they can catch or scavenge.

Where do common snapping turtles live?

Common snapping turtles are found throughout North America, from Canada to Mexico. They prefer slow-moving or still bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, and marshes, but they can also be found in rivers and streams. They like to bury themselves in mud or sand at the bottom of the water and can stay there for long periods of time.

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Snapping turtles are adaptable to different types of habitats and can even be found in urban areas such as parks and golf courses.

How do common snapping turtles defend themselves?

Common snapping turtles have a few ways to defend themselves from predators. Their first line of defense is their hard shell, which protects their body from attacks. They can also use their long neck to bite and scratch predators.

If a predator gets too close, snapping turtles can release a foul-smelling liquid from their musk glands, which can repel some animals. They can also use their powerful legs to push themselves into the mud and hide from danger.

Can common snapping turtles run?

Common snapping turtles are not known for their speed on land, and they cannot run. They are adapted to moving in the water, where they are excellent swimmers. They can move quickly in the water and can hold their breath for up to an hour.

On land, snapping turtles move slowly and awkwardly, dragging their heavy shell behind them. They are not built for running and are more likely to retreat into the water if they feel threatened.

Check out how fast he bites

In conclusion, the common snapping turtle may not be known for its speed, but it is still an impressive creature in its own right. While it may not win any races, it can still cover ground surprisingly quickly when it needs to. With its powerful legs and sharp claws, the snapping turtle is a formidable predator on both land and in the water.

If you ever encounter a snapping turtle in the wild, it is best to keep your distance and observe it from a safe distance. These creatures may be slow-moving, but they are also known for their aggressive nature and powerful jaws. Respect their space and you can enjoy watching one of nature’s most fascinating creatures in action.

Overall, the question of how fast common snapping turtles can run may not have a straightforward answer, but it is still an interesting topic to explore. Whether you are a nature enthusiast or simply curious about the world around you, taking the time to learn about these amazing creatures is always worth it. So next time you see a snapping turtle, take a moment to appreciate all that it can do, and marvel at the wonder of nature.

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