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Animal Information

Alligator Snapping Turtle Southern Swamps

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Macrochelys temmincki

Biome: Southern Swamps

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America. Primitive in appearance, it can be recognized by its large, heavy head, and the three rows of spiky ridges along its massive shell. It is sometimes confused with the common snapping turtle, which is smaller in size with a much smoother shell. Well-camouflaged under water, this algae-covered turtle is both a scavenger and an active hunter. Lying in wait with its mouth open, it uses a pink worm-like lure on its tongue to entice fish. Frogs, crayfish, snakes, mollusks, plant material, smaller turtles, and alligators are also eaten. An alligator snapping turtle is highly aquatic, emerging from water only for nesting or occasional basking.

Alligator snapping turtles inhabit lakes and slow-moving water within the river systems of the Gulf Coast states in the southern U.S.

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