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Chelydra serpentina
Status Common in Katy and Cypress Texas Notes A common turtle that rarely leaves the water to bask or walk on land so is not seen as often as other turtles in the area.  Young snapping turtles start out with three rows of pointy scutes along the back that flatten as they age.  Snapping turtles have a distinct look with a pointy beak and body that cannot completely enter the shell.  Cannot be confused with any other species of turtle in the area except potentially the Alligator Snapping Turtle which may occur here (have never seen one).  If picked up this species will typically bite at the air in no particular direction hoping to scare off their nemesis.  If you do need to pick one up try to place your hands between the back legs and tail away from the mouth and carry it as low as possible because they will usually kick with their sharply clawed back legs, gloves are recommended.  Picking up a snapping turtle by the tail can injure the turtles spine, do not pick one up by the tail regardless if certain idiots are doing it on television!
(Common Snapping Turtle)