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Chelydra serpentina subspp.

Basic information
Scientific name Chelydra serpentina subspp.

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カミツキガメ
Major synonym Chelydra rossignoni, Chelydra acutirostris
Common names Snapping turtle
Higher taxon Chelydridae, Testudines, Reptilia
Natural range North to South America (Canada to Ecuador).
Habitat Waterfront, lake or pond, and swamp. Not in stream.
Invasion information
Range in Japan Established in several ponds in Chiba and Shizuoka Pref., and possibly in Tokyo Pref.
Recorded in central and southwestern part of main lands of Japan and Okinawajima Is. An adult female found in southern Fukushima Pref. in June 2010 was sexually matured.
Range in Japan
Origin USA
Date 1960s.
Route Deliberate: Escape and/or release of pet animals.
Impact Actually: Predation of freshwater animals, and competition with native turtles. Attack against fishery gear.
Potentially: Attack against human.
Native organism(s) affected: Freshwater turtles, fishes, aquatic insects, crayfishes, crabs, shrimps, molluscs, aquatic plants.
Regulation in Japan Import, transport and keeping in Japan are prohibited by the Invasive Alien Species Act.
Introduced range in other countries
Reference Notes
  • Bartlett & Bartlett (1999) A field guide to florida reptiles and amphibians. Gulf Publishing, Huston.
  • Ernst & Barbour (1989) Turtles of the World. Smithonian Institution Press.
  • Ihara (2010) Observation of the genital gland of snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) collected in Fukushima City. Bull Biogeogr Soc Japan. 65, 181-183 (in Jpn with English abst)
  • Uetz et al. (1995-2009) The TIGR Reptile Database. http://www.reptile-database.org/
  • Sakaniwa et al. (2008) Current status of Snapping turtle(Chelydra serpentine)in Gunma Prefecture(2007. Bull.Gunma Mus.Natu.His. 12, 79-82 (in Jpn)
  • Kato & Etoh (2012) Naturalization of the Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina (Testudines, Chelidridae) in the Kano Basin, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Natural History of the Tokai District. 5, 41-44 (in Jpn with English abst)
100 of the Japan’s Worst Invasive Alien Species

Although hurting against human may be possible, little or no case in the natural range. As the distribution of established population is currently limited to several ponds, immediate action may enable eradication.
Although some authors regard Central and South American populations as distinct species, C. serpentina in the broad sense is subject to control by the Invasive Alien Species Act.