Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys Temminckii)
IUCN: Red List: Vulnerable
Alligator Snapping Turtles are the dragons of the deep which originate from the south-eastern waters of the United States. It shares its name with the alligator due to the ferocious power in its beaklike jaws as well as its ridged spiky exterior which encompasses its entire carapace. Their dark solid appearance additionally lends itself to being a master of camouflage in the deep murky waters it resides in. It has a unique worm-like appendage in its tongue which draws curious fish looking for a quick meal only to be snapped by the jaws of this prehistoric dinosaur.
This turtle spends its time almost exclusively in river bottoms lying in wait for its prey. As the largest freshwater turtle in North America and one of the largest in the world, these snappers have established themselves as the apex predator of their eco systems.
They are solitary creatures that show little to less parental care. While adult alligator snappers reside in rivers, swamps and canals, the hatchlings stay near small streams.The mating season for Alligator snapping turtles begins in early spring in the southern part of the continent like Florida and late spring in northern ends like Mississippi Valley. The species is polygynandrous which means both male and female snappers mate with more than one partner.
- Alligator snapping turtle is an ancient species. It exists on the planet at least 20 million years.
- Alligator snapping turtle has pinkish, worm-like appendage on the tongue. When it moves, it acts like bate for fish.
- Besides fish, alligator snapping turtle eats worms, crayfish, snails, frogs, snakes and aquatic vegetation.
- Alligator snapping turtle hunts actively during the night. It lays motionless on the bottom of the water during the day and uses its worm-like appendage to attract prey. Alligator snapping turtle can spend up to 40 minutes under the water without returning to the surface to breathe.
- Alligator snapping turtles spend almost entire life in the water. Females leave water to deposit eggs in the ground. Males occasionally bask on the sun
- Females lay eggs in nests on the ground, usually on a safe distance (around 160 feet) from the water. They produce 8 to 52 eggs that will hatch after incubation period of 3.5 to 4.5 months.
- Temperature of the nest determines the sex of the babies. Higher and lower temperatures result in development of females. Medium temperature leads to development of males
- Alligator snapping turtle does not show parental care. Young turtles look like miniature versions of adult animals and they fend for themselves from the moment of birth.
Fish & other small aquatic animals
|Size:||Up to 31 inches|
|Weight:||Up to 90kg|
|Lifespan:||Up to 100 years|