Conservationists captured three Suwannee alligator snapping turtles in Florida. First spotted in 2014, the species is native to the Southeast and is endangered.
- Last Updated: August 30, 2020, 6:35 PM IST
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Recently a 100-pound Suwannee alligator snapping turtle, a massive new species that live in the Suwannee River, was one of three caught recently by Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission trappers.
According to an FWC Facebook post on Friday, biologists with the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute found three of the species in traps set in the New River: a 100-pound male and a 46-pound female in one trap, and a 64-pound male in another.
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute share the pictures on their official Facebook account.
The New River, which is north of Gainesville is “a blackwater stream with low biological productivity, so finding a large turtle in such a small stream is unusual,” the Facebook post said.
The FWC has been collaborating with researchers in Florida and Georgia to study the population size and distribution of Suwannee alligator snapping turtles, which is indigenous to the area.
Comments on FWC’s page perhaps sum up the find.
“Absolutely beautiful reptiles! I would love to hold one of these magnificent creatures.”
“Imagine one of those mutated in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Awesome!”
“Those alligator snapping turtles our hudge an you let them loose you find them in small stream cant you take them to large stream an release them.”
Previously, it was believed there were only one living species of alligator snapping turtle. The current one has been recognized as Macrochelys suwanniensis.
Its name is derived from the ridges on its shell that resemble the rough skin of an alligator. It has also been dubbed ‘the dinosaur of the turtle world’ for its eerily similarity in appearance.
Most live to about 70, though there have been reports of alligator snapping turtles living to 100.
Males alligator snapping turtles weigh about 175 pounds, according to National Geographic, although they can surpass 200 pounds.
Females are much smaller, usually weighing under 50lbs.
Scientists are particularly concerned about the Suwannee because of its limited habitat.