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Alligator Snapping Turtle Macrochelys temminckii


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Alligator Snapping Turtle
credit: Gary M Stolz

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Family: Chelydridae, Snapping Turtles view all from this family

Description Huge head, strong beak, long tail. Brown/gray carapace. 3 keels and small scutes between marginal and costal scutes. Small gray plastron in comparison.

Dimensions 40-80.8cm. (16-32")

Warning Snappers have massive heads with powerful, hooked jaws. They strike viciously when lifted from water or teased and can inflict a serious bite.

Breeding Underwater. February-April. 10-52 eggs in a clutch. Eggs laid in a flask shaped cavity near water. Hatches after 12 weeks.

Habitat Freshwater rivers, lakes & sloughs.

Range Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Discussion Females only leave water when breeding. Worm-like structure on its tongue to lure prey similar to a "fishing lure". Also seen to eat smaller turtles. Can live up to 60 years in captivity.