How Strong Is a Snapping Turtles Bite?

How Strong Is a Snapping Turtles Bite?

Snapping turtles are one of the most docile-looking creatures you will ever find on Earth. However, you wouldn’t even dare to feed these creatures with your hand. It’s because snapping turtles are popularly known for their deadly bites that have exceptionally high force.

Snapping turtles are one of the most docile-looking creatures you will ever find on Earth. However, you wouldn’t even dare to feed these creatures with your hand. It’s because snapping turtles are popularly known for their deadly bites that have exceptionally high force.

So, if you are wondering how strong the bites of snapping turtles are, you are in the right place. This article will give you informative insights into snapping turtles’ bite force and strength. While you scroll further, you will learn how to handle and prevent the bites of snapping turtles.

Please keep reading until the article’s end to learn more about it. Let’s find out!

Why Do Snapping Turtles Bite Humans?

Why Do Snapping Turtles Bite Humans?

Like all other docile creatures on Earth, snapping turtles don’t act aggressively without any significant cause. As their name suggests, they usually snap whenever they smell any potential threat or danger.

You should know that snapping turtles are bulky in size and possess hard shells. Even though these creatures have the potential features to defend themselves, they still feel vulnerable. It’s mainly because they are incapable of withdrawing their legs and head inside their shell. Besides, they also don’t possess a plastron that is large enough.

Once a snapping turtle tucks in, its head remains on one side, thereby exposing the neck. Hence, snapping turtles always feel the necessity to remain alert.

It might suddenly snap at you if you ever go near the snapping turtle or start irritating or mishandling it. The bite of this creature is so dangerous that it would be the last thing that you’d ever want.

Nevertheless, the risk of being bitten by a snapping turtle inside water is almost nonexistent. But when these creatures stay on land, they are quite vulnerable and remain alert. As these turtles can barely outrun the attackers on land, they consider biting as their only weapon for protecting themselves.

What are the Types of Snapping Turtles and Their Respective Bite Forces?

In total, five distinct subspecies of snapping turtles are widely found across America. All the species are quite enormous in size and are found in wild regions of Southern and Central America.

The five subspecies of snapping turtles can be categorized into two major distinctions: Chelydra and Macrochelys.

Even though both categories possess different physical features and properties, they are popularly known as snapping turtles. It’s primarily due to their similar biting or snapping behavior.

Please note that the alligator snapping turtles fall under the genus Macrochelys. On the other hand, the common snapping turtle belongs to the genus Chelydra.

Here, we will briefly discuss the biting forces of these two snapping turtles:

Bite Force of Alligator Snapping Turtle

Bite Force of Alligator Snapping Turtle

The alligator snapping turtles are the largest among all other subspecies of snapping turtles. They measure around 2.2 ft in length and weigh around 90 to 95 kg in captivity. 

However, wild alligator turtles are usually smaller in size compared to those in captivity. Besides, they also don’t weigh more than 50 kg.

Snapping alligator turtles have extremely strong jaws and are capable of producing a high force ranging from 160 to 170 newtons. These strong bites can easily break wooden broomsticks in half.

On the other hand, wild alligator snapping turtles have long claws, a robust unbreakable shell, and a sharp beak that produces high pressure. They use their beak to pierce into the flesh of their prey, thereby killing it.

Some researchers say that wild alligator snapping turtles have equal bite force to that of alligator snapping turtles. But that’s absolutely not true. They can’t exert an extremely high force but can surely convert into high pressure with their beak. That’s exactly how they are capable of piercing through extremely hard things.

Bite Force of Common Snapping Turtle

Bite Force of Common Snapping Turtle

Compared to alligator snapping turtles, the Chelydra serpentina, or common snapping turtles, are much smaller. They typically measure around 1.4 ft in length and weigh around 16 kg.

Even though these species of turtles are smaller, they don’t do any less harm while biting or snapping.

Nevertheless, the wild common snapping turtles deliver exceptionally large bite force, which is approximately 210 newtons. These species are way more aggressive than that alligator snapping turtles.

Please note that the common snapping turtles generally hunt down fishes and other aquatic creatures. The turtles basically chase down their prey and deliberately crush them in their mouths.

With a smaller size and significantly larger bite force, the common snapping turtles are considered far more dangerous than alligator snapping turtles.

What Should You Do When a Snapping Turtle Bites You?

As we have already discussed the bite force of snapping turtles, you will definitely know how dangerous it can be. You should also note that their bite can also be very painful and miserable. Besides, you will have greater risks of being infected by Salmonella or other dangerous bacteria.

So, if your loved one or you ever get bit by a snapping turtle, then you should follow these techniques:

Release the Turtle’s grip

Release the Turtle’s grip

First and foremost, you must carefully release your hand, finger, or any other body part from the snapping turtle’s mouth. If you irritate or force the turtle for any reason whatsoever, it will clamp its bite with greater force and pressure. So make sure that you don’t pull the turtle’s mouth off you.

The best way to release the grip of the snapping turtle is by submerging it into a water body. Once the turtle starts feeling more comfortable inside the water, it will eventually let go of your hand. When you notice that the turtle has released its grip, you should move away as quickly as possible.

Please make sure that you allow the turtle to calm down on its own. If you need to remove the turtle from the water, you can do so by grasping the back of its shell. Make sure that you handle the snapping turtle very carefully and keep its mouth away from your body. While moving the turtle, don’t panic and drop as it will severely injure the shell of the turtle.

If you are a novice in handling snapping turtles, then you might end up hurting them unknowingly. When you end up hurting the turtle, it will make them more stressed and panicked. Therefore, the creature is likely to clamp down its jaw with greater pressure, causing more pain and injury.

Treat the Wound

You should note that the majority of snapping turtles carry Salmonella and several other bacteria. If its bite penetrates your skin, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Make sure you wash the wounded area with soap and water and apply some antiseptic if blood is oozing out of the wound. You can consult with your doctor and ask whether you need to take any antibiotics.

How Should You Handle a Snapping Turtle to Prevent Painful Bites?

How Should You Handle a Snapping Turtle to Prevent Painful Bites?

It is imperative for you to handle snapping turtles very carefully to avoid painful bites. Even if you are not a keeper of snapping turtles, being familiar with the handling techniques will benefit you.

While picking a small snapping turtle, make sure you use both your finger and thumb. As you place your thumb on the back shell, keep your finger on the plastron between the rear legs. Also, make sure you don’t make any noise and approach the snapping turtle from behind. 

If you need to move or relocate a snapping turtle, please make sure you do the act quickly. Besides, you should keep the creature as low as possible and keep its head pointed away from you. 

To Conclude

Believe it or not but snapping turtles can be so dangerous that they can bite off your finger or toe. Even though it’s quite a rare incident, you should approach snapping turtles with utmost care. And whenever you are handling the turtle for whatever reason, make sure you wear gloves for your safety.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *