The common name of a family of reptiles, comprising turtles with the body high in front, low behind, large head, long neck, powerful jaws, tail long and strong. If assailed they raise themselves on their legs and tail, throw the body forcibly forward, and snap the jaws with great power upon their foe. They are a match for any enemy likely to attack them except man. They are frequently found upon the land near the water, devouring small animals. There are three species, two of which are American. They are hunted for their flesh, which makes a rich and palatable soup.