Alligator snapping turtle Facts

Alligator snapping turtle Facts
Alligator snapping turtle is the largest species of freshwater turtles. This animal can be found in the southeastern parts of North America. Alligator snapping turtle inhabits rivers, lakes, canals and swamps. Number of alligator snapping turtles in the wild dropped significantly in the past couple of decades as a result of intensive hunt because of their meat. Other threats include pollution of the water and habitat destruction. Alligator snapping turtles are listed as threatened species (they are not endangered yet, but they may become endangered in the near future).
Interesting Alligator snapping turtle Facts:
Alligator snapping turtle can reach 26 inches in length and 155 to 175 pounds in weight. Males are larger than females.
Shell of alligator snapping turtle can be grey, black, brown or greenish in color. It is often covered with algae which provide additional camouflage in murky waters.
Alligator snapping turtle has three ridges on a dorsal side of the shell (called carapace). Same morphological feature is characteristic for alligators, hence the name.
Alligator snapping turtle has large head, strong beak-like jaw, scaly skin and large claws. It is similar in appearance with certain species of plated dinosaurs. 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.
Due to their large dimensions, adult alligator snapping turtles do not have natural enemies. However, their eggs are often targeted by raccoons, large fish and birds.
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.
Mating season of alligator snapping turtles takes place during the spring.
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.
Alligator snapping turtles reach sexual maturity at the age of 11 to 13 years.
Alligator snapping turtle can survive from 20 to 70 years in captivity.

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