What Are Some Facts About Alligator Snapping Turtles?


Quick Answer

Alligator snapping turtles have spiky shells, scaled tails, spines on their legs and beak-like mouths. These unique features give this reptile a distinctly prehistoric look; it is often called the "dinosaur of the turtle world."

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What Are Some Facts About Alligator Snapping Turtles?
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Full Answer

The alligator snapping turtle is a freshwater turtle that lives in the southeast United States. It is not only one of the largest freshwater turtles in North America but in the world as well. It reaches up to 26 inches in length from the front of its beak to the back of its shell and weighs around 220 pounds. This species also lives up to 70 years, the majority of which it spends in the water.

Females briefly leave the water to nest and birth the next generation of alligator snapping turtles. This species has adapted so well to life in rivers, canals and lakes that it can stay underwater for 50 minutes without breathing. It often spends so much time in the water that algae grows on its shell.

The alligator snapping turtle lures in prey by opening its mouth and sticking out its tongue. Its tongue resembles a red worm, which draws in all types of aquatic life, from fish to frogs. Once the prey is close enough, the turtle snaps its mouth closed to snatch its meal.

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