Chelydra - from the Greek chelydros, a water serpent, referring to the highly aquatic nature and primitive look to this species

serpentina - Latin for "snake-like", referring to its long neck

The common name is derived from its powerful jaws which makes a snapping sound when closed. Snapping turtles are sought out and hunted for food or killed because of the myth that they attack everything ranging from ducks to sunbathers. The truth is that for the most part, snapping turtles are shy vegetarians and only snap in self defence.

In June and July, female snappers are often seen attempting to navigate across highways in search of a nesting site. If you want to try to move a turtle off a roadway, be aware that behind their stout head is a deceptively long neck which can lash-out with amazing speed, propelling the strong snapping mouth with great accuracy. The best approach is to grip the back of the shell on both sides. Never lift a snapper by the tail. This can harm their spine and even kill them.