The largest freshwater turtle in N.America and one of the largest in the world, the alligator snapper is named because it lives in the same places as alligators. Large males may achieve carapace lengths approaching 1.0m, weigh as much as a man, and live to 100 years of age, but they have suffered severely at the hands of man, through hunting for food and habitat alteration and loss of nest sites. The alligator snapping turtle is one of USA's most endangered species. Alligator snappers eat fish that are tempted within range by a red worm-like lure on the tongue.
North America (endemic to southeastern USA: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, southern Kansas & eastern Texas, and up the Mississippi valley into Tennessee, W.Vigrinia, Missouri, Illinois & Iowa) but oddly not peninsular Florida.
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Habitat: Large slow rivers, still lakes and bayous
The jaws of a large snapper can splinter bone
Large alligator snappers like this one were threatened by hunting for food
This baby alligator snapper may live for 100years and reach 50kg or more in weight
The Safari Park recently received a second female alligator snapping turtle which had been captured by an angler in a British reservoir, where it had apparently seen sighted and even captured several times over 25 years.
Mark O'Shea with original alligator snapper and Keeper Dan Hall with the newly arrived specimen
The original alligator snapper (left) and the newly arrived specimen (right), both 15kg females