Snapping turtles snap at people for the same reason that snakes bite and geese hiss and women spray mace: because they feel threatened. Aside from ducking into their shell and hoping for the best, snapping or clawing at an enemy is really a snapping turtle’s best bet at self-defense. Not to mention, the most likely time for a human to encounter a snapping turtle is when they venture away from the water to lay eggs, and animals in general can get pretty protective of their offspring. And in fairness to the snapping turtles, their unfriendly behavior towards us isn’t entirely unjustified. Humans have been known to kill snapping turtles for their meat and shells.
I agree with what maddie mentioned, it really just seems like snapping turtles are misunderstood. Their defense mechanism is snapping at the enemy, and this can come off as pretty intimidating to a human. However, if you put yourself in the position of the snapping turtle, humans can come off as being pretty intimidating as well. It all comes down to respecting these animals and giving them their space. Don’t mess with their habitats and use caution when going near them!
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