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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macroclemys temminckii)




Alligator Snapping Turtle | Macroclemys temminckii photo
Alligator Snapping Turtle

Photograph by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Image Library. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

Alligator Snapping Turtle | Macroclemys temminckii photo
Picture of a baby snapping turtle, in Rogers County, Oklahoma. About 10 cm across the shell.

Photograph by Fluzwup. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

ALLIGATOR SNAPPING TURTLE FACTS

Description
The Alligator Snapping Turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America. It has a large heavy head and a long, thick tail with three ridges along the top. It can be easily distinguished from the Common Snapping Turtle by the three rows of spikes and raised plates on the carapace (the Common Snapping Turtle has a smoother carapace). They are plain gray, brown, black, or olive-green in color, and are often covered with algae. They have yellow pattern around the eyes. The eyes are surrounded by thin fleshy filamentous growths like eyelashes. It has a worm-shaped appendage on the tip of its tongue to lure fish.

Other Names
Alligator Snapper

Size
Length 40cm - 80cm. Average adult length is around 65cm. Average weight is about 80kg.

Environment
primarily southern U.S. waters, while the smaller, more aggressive common snapper inhabits lakes and streams from South America to Canada. These turtles can remain submerged for up to an hour, and typically, only nesting females will venture onto open land.

Food
Alligator snappers are omnivores. They eat fish and dead fish carcasses, invertebrates, carrion, amphibians, snakes, other turtles. In captivity they will eat almost any kind of meat provided, including rodents.

Breeding
The female digs a nest about 50m from the water and lays a clutch of 10 - 50 eggs in late spring or early summer. The sex of the hatchling alligator snapping turtles depends on the incubation temperature. The hatch emerge after 100 to 140 days. Alligator snapping turtles can live from 20 to 70 years in captivity.

Range
found in the Mississippi River and its tributaries throughout the south eastern United States. They are also found in the Missouri River as far north as South Dakota. The Alligator Snapping Turtle has also been found in New England and Indiana where it is on the endangered species list

Notes
Alligator Snapping Turtles are bred in captivity and are available in the exotic pet animal trade. They are best left to experienced turtle keepers, as they can be difficult to handle as they reach adult size. They are not generally aggressive in captivity, but if harassed they can give a serious bite with their powerful jaws, and can amputate a finger or toe. Some states such as California prohibit them from being kept as pets.

Classification
Class:Reptilia
Order:Testudines
Family:Chelydridae
Genus:Macroclemys
Species:temminckii
Common Name:Alligator Snapping Turtle