Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are toxic compounds found in the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We assessed the impact of PAHs and crude oil on snapping turtle development and behavior by exposing snapping turtle eggs from the Refuge and from three clean reference sites to individual PAHs or a crude oil mixture at stage 9 of embryonic development. Exposure to PAHs had a significant effect on survival rates in embryos from one clean reference site, but not in embryos from the other sites. There was a positive linear relationship between level of exposure to PAHs and severity of deformities in embryos collected from two of the clean reference sites. Neither righting response nor upper temperature tolerance (critical thermal maximum, CTM) of snapping turtle hatchlings with no or minor deformities was significantly affected by exposure to PAHs. - Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on the egg reduces survival of snapping turtle embryos and causes developmental abnormalities.