Alligator Snapping Turtle

Zoo Location: Crocodile Swamp
 Alligator Snapping Turtle
Habitat

Alligator snapping turtles are native to freshwater habitats in United States. Found from Northern Florida to Eastern Texas and as far north as Iowa.

We are home to two female snapping turtles, called Bebop and Rocksteady.

Zoo Diet

Our snappers are fed pieces of meat and fish on the end of a long pole. They are usually fed once or twice a week but will often eat less in the winter.  

Wild Diet

They are opportunistic and feed on minnows, fish carcasses, carrion, invertebrates, and amphibians. They are also known to eat snakes, water birds, aquatic plants and other smaller turtles. They can also prey on small mammals that are close to the water’s edge such as squirrels, raccoons and armadillos.

Behaviour

Alligator snapping turtles are the largest freshwater turtle in North America and among the largest in the world. They are almost exclusively aquatic, and tend to stay submerged and motionless for so long that algae can begin to grow on their shells. They are found almost exclusively in rivers, canals, and lakes. When fully grown they can weigh up to 113kgs!

Breeding

Adults mate in the spring and females lay eggs two months later. The eggs hatch after 100 to 140 days, with most hatchlings emerging in September or October.
There is no parental care for the young and they are subject to environmental sex determination, which means that females develop in high and low temperatures and males in moderate temperatures. 

Conservation

Adult snappers have no natural predators other than humans, who capture them for their meat and shells, and to sell in the exotic animal trade. A severe reduction in population due to unregulated harvesting and habitat loss has led states to protect them throughout most of their range, and they are listed as a threatened species.

 Alligator Snapping Turtle

INFORMATION

  • Latin Name: Macrochelys temminckii
  • Class: Reptiles
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable
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