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Alligator Snapping Turtle

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  • English name
    Alligator Snapping Turtle
  • ClassificationTestudines, Chelidridae
  • Scientific nameMacrochelys temminckii

Alligator Snapping Turtle
Click the image to expand

The Alligator Snapping Turtle has powerful jaws that can bite off human fingers. However, many have been caught for food or to have as pets, and now there is concern that they may be in danger of extinction.

Size & Weight (Adult)

Tortoise Shell: 80cm Max.

(Source: Doubutsu Sekai-isan* Red Data Animals Kodansha) (*World Animal Heritage)

Where they live

They live in lakes and rivers in the southern USA.

What they eat

Alligator Snapping Turtles eat fish, frogs, crabs, and shellfish. They sometimes also eat smaller turtles and alligators.

What they are like

The Alligator Snapping Turtle spends most of its life in the water. It can stay under water for 40 to 50 minutes.

Find out more about the Alligator Snapping Turtle!

Jaws strong enough to bite off human fingers
The Alligator Snapping Turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world. With a spiky shell and sharp, pointy jaw, it looks very strong. It has a large head and can chew up smaller turtles shell and all. You have to be very careful when handling them as they can bite off human fingers. When Alligator Snapping Turtles hunt for food, they stick out their tongue, which is shaped like a worm, to lure fish into their mouth. These animals are not only strong — they are very cunning as well.

Adults are taken for meat, while the young are taken as pets
Even alligators have to give up when they meet an adult Alligator Snapping Turtle. It is said that their only natural enemies are humans. Adult Alligator Snapping Turtles are hunted for their meat and young turtles are taken to have as pets. In Japan, there is a lot of fuss whenever Alligator Snapping Turtles that were kept as pets are found in the town after having been let go or escaped. It is important to remember that keeping a pet is a lifetime responsibility.


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