Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Scary Cousin - Alligator Snapping Turtle

























This friendly fella, the Alligator Snapping Turtle, was found in the middle of the road somewhere in Oklahoma by a biker, who was treated to this giant smile when he tried to move him to safety in the grass. Note the spikes on his neck. Ouch!

The alligator snapper keeps to primarily southern U.S. waters. They have a large, heavy head, and a long, thick shell with three dorsal ridges of large scales giving it a primitive appearance reminiscent of some of the plated dinosaurs. They have three distinct rows of spikes and raised plates on the carapace, whereas the common snapping turtle has a smoother carapace. They are a solid gray, brown, black, or olive-green in color, and often covered with algae.

Alligator snapping turtles can range in length from 16 to 32 inches and weigh up to 175 lbs. They will eat almost anything they can catch. Snapping turtles can remain submerged underwater for up to three hours at a time. Look at this adorable baby alligator snapper!

3 comments:

  1. not sure why...Aunt Helen comes to mind.

    ReplyDelete
  2. immediate response to top photo was the pirate's "Aarg!"

    ReplyDelete