Wisconsin has 11 turtle species. Ten are aquatic or semi-aquatic and one is strictly terrestrial (land-dwelling). Most turtles breed in the spring after they emerge from hibernation or during August. All turtles lay their eggs in nests in uplands, making the protection of both upland and aquatic habitats essential to their survival.
The snapping turtle is Wisconsin’s largest and heaviest turtle species. Its carapace can vary from light brown to black in color and it has a saw-toothed back edge. The tail supports a row of jagged dorsal scales and is nearly as long as the carapace. The head has large jaws and a pointed snout with a prominent beak. Its long neck, powerful jaws and aggressive behavior have rightly earned the snapping turtle its name.