Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Vinson Massif, Antarctica
It isn't too uncommon. Snapping turtles tend to spend most of their time at the bottom of ponds/streams/etc... and when you consider that things may freeze on top, the bottom is usually not frozen. They bury themselves in the mud at the bottom, and it maintains a pretty constant temperature throughout the winter, since water tends to hold a more constant temperature than open air.
Plus, snapping turtles have an exceptional ability to withstand the cold. There have been studies shown that they can get down to a 34F/1C body temperature, without harm. Of course, freezing is still deadly, which is why they need to be in water/mud deep enough to maintain temperatures above freezing. During the winter months they don't need to come up for air, so don't expose themselves to freezing temperatures; they actually use special membranes in their neck and throat to filter oxygen directly from the water. Since they're metabolism is so drastically slowed down, their oxygen requirements are greatly reduced.
One thing that would be deadly is if the temperature dropped too fast for them to find an appropriate place to over-winter, or if the body of water was shallow enough to completely freeze.
She sits in her corner, singing herself to sleep.
Wrapped in all of the promises, that no one seems to keep.