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Alligator Snapping Turtle

on August 31, 2012
Aquarium Guide - Mini

The alligator snapping turtle has a fascinating hunting technique.


Alligator Snapping Turtle

The alligator snapping turtle has a fascinating hunting technique. Since this creature eats primarily fish, it spends most of its time in the water. It waits motionless with its mouth open. It then moves its worm-like tongue to entice fish into its mouth. This hunting practice was not part of the original created kind, since all animals were originally vegetarian.


  • The alligator snapping turtle is usually brown, black, green, or gray in color with a distinct yellow pattern around its eyes.
  • The most distinguishing features of this turtle are the three large ridges that run from the front to the back of its shell.
  • The alligator snapping turtle is active both day and night.

Fun Facts

  • This turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America; the largest one on record weighed 236 lbs (107 kg).
  • Some people have called the alligator snapping turtle the dinosaur of the turtle world.
  • They must be handled with extreme care because of their powerful bite.

CLASS: Reptilia (reptiles)
ORDER: Testudines (tortoises and turtles)
FAMILY: Chelydridae (snapping turtles)
GENUS/SPECIES: Macrochelys temminckii

Size: Average 26 in (60 cm)
Weight: 155–175 lbs (70–79 kg)
Diet: Primarily fish, but will eat almost anything, including plants
Habitat: Typically in southeastern freshwater river systems of the United States

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