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What Is the Gestation Period of a Snapping Turtle?

| Updated September 26, 2017

There are two species of these North American freshwater reptiles–the common snapping turtle and the alligator snapping turtle. Snapping turtles are known for their large size and their powerful snapping jaws. Some adult snapping turtles can weigh up to 60 lbs.


A female turtle can hold sperm in her body until it can find a suitable place to lay her eggs. The period of time it takes the eggs to hatch depends on the temperature of the climate. On average, gestation, or incubation, takes from three to four months.

Time Frame

Snapping turtles mate between April and November and tend to lay their eggs in June and July. Therefore, baby turtles typically hatch between August and November.


Snapping turtles spend nearly all their time in the water, and it is usually only nesting females who make their way onto land. Female snapping turtles will travel great distances to find appropriate sand in which to lay their eggs. When the female finds a suitable site, she will dig a hole into which she deposits up to 80 eggs, cover it with sand, and leave.

Baby Snapping Turtles

Do not be alarmed if a baby snapping turtle looks a little bit furry. This is a normal part of its growth. They shed many layers of skin and shell before their shell hardens.


Baby snapping turtles are small, but they don't stay that way for long. After a year, a baby turtle could be nearing a foot in length when it reaches its first birthday. Adult turtles can grow to be 2 feet long and some can weigh up to 75 lbs.