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The snapping turtle family members have been on our dinner tables
since long ago. These turtles are the largest freshwater turtles on the American Continent, with the alligator snapper being the unquestionable king.

Snappers are being sought for three main reasons:
meat, shells and as pets.
Most of the demand for turtle meat products is met by the alligator snapper, but in many areas the common snappers meat is being sold. Quite large wild cought common snapping turtles can be found at the local markets in South America or Mexico.

In the USA or Canada the snapping turtles played a special role in the
native indians lives.The " long lived and wise " snappers shells were used in religious rituals and musical instruments making ( the snapping turtle
shell rattle
).

Nowadays, most of the snappers on the market are artificially raised on turtle farms. The life of a commercially brought up snapping turtle begins and ends on the farm. The female snappers produce eggs from which baby snappers are being hatched and then raised to the size suitable for butchering.

To ensure the fast delivery of eggs, the female snappers get an injection of hormone oxytocin and lay eggs within 2 hrs..
The grown up common snapping turtles are butchered at the weight of 10 to 12 lb., at which they deliver about 5 lb. of meat.
The meat then is being sold as frozen or canned products.

A great number of hatchlings though is being sold to the pet stores around the world. Both, snappers as pets and snappers as, hmmm... frozen meat, reach their destinations to as far as Japan.

For those who tried it, I still haven't, stew made with snapping turtle meat is apparently quite tasty. So, if you'd have a chance one day - it's all up to you !

More reading & related links:
 
        Basic snapping turtle info in one file - Introduction to snapping turtles.pdf (116 Kb)  

 


          
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