Post-Emergence Movements and Overwintering of Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina, Hatchlings in New York and New Hampshire


  • Gordon R. Ultsch Courtesy Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611
  • Matt Draud Department of Biology, C. W. Post - Long Island University, 720 Northern Boulevard, Brookville, New York 11547
  • Barry Wicklow Department of Biology, St. Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, New Hampshire 03102



Common Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina, hatchling turtles, hibernation in turtles, New York, New Hampshire


Hatchling Common Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) were captured within, or as they emerged from, their nest cavities in Long Island, New York, and in southeastern New Hampshire. They were fitted with radiotransmitters and released at their nest sites. Their movements were monitored for as long as possible, which for some included tracking them to their overwintering sites and relocating them the following spring. On Long Island, all hatchlings initially moved to water. Later movements were both aquatic and terrestrial, and those that could be located while overwintering had left the water and hibernated in spring seeps, where they were recovered alive the following April. In New Hampshire, hatchlings moved directly to nearby aquatic habitats after emergence, where they spent the winter submerged in shallow water in root masses near banks.