Alligator Snapping Turtle

The alligator snapping turtle is the largest species of freshwater turtle and can live to be 50-100 years old. This turtle has a specially adapted tongue that allows it to catch prey with little work. The tongue has a bright red, worm-shaped piece of flesh that draws curious fish or frogs close enough for the turtle to snatch. An alligator snapping turtle can stay submerged 40 to 50 minutes before surfacing for air. The only known predators of adult snappers are humans who capture them for their meat and shells, and to sell in the exotic animal trade.

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Macrochelys temminckii

Habitat: Rivers, canals, and lakes of southeastern United States

Diet in the wild: Aquatic animals, i.e. fish and frogs

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Fish

Size: Around 26 inches. Males can weigh 220 pounds

Family: Alligator snapping turtles spend the majority of their lives in the water, but females may trudge 160 feet inland to nest

Status: Vulnerable

Did you know? A group of alligator snapping turtles is called a bale or dole

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