What Are the Adaptations of Snapping Turtles?

Snapping turtle adaptations include a camouflaged mouth interior, a worm-shaped appendage on the tongue and the use of a special sensory system to sense and capture prey. Perhaps the most well-known feature of snapping turtles is the mouth, which opens wide and contains a sharp, hook-like tool to snatch and grasp prey. This, and several other characteristics, help snapping turtles survive.

Snapping turtles have unique cheek patches inside their mouths that are camouflaged to match the surrounding waterscape. This feature helps snapping turtles remain unseen by prey as they lie in wait for victims to swim or crawl past. Turtles lie motionless, hidden among seaweed and other objects, using their sensitive tongue-mounted appendages to detect approaching prey. Turtles primarily eat fish; their vermiforms essentially act as fishing lures by attracting the fish, which then swim within striking distance, allowing the turtles to capture them. The turtles’ appendages even imitate the movements of worms, appearing deceptively realistic. Snapping turtles, as their name suggests, snap their jaws shut with great force upon retrieving the fish. Snapping turtles also use special chemosensory aids to locate prey; this requires using special throat muscles to draw in water. Turtles can then detect the presence of chemicals that are released by prey and in turn follow the scent trail.