is not the kind of turtle you want your kids to keep
as a pet! Danny saw this turtle crossing the highway,
and, concerned that it might get run over, he caught
it and put it in the back of the trailer he was towing
and brought it to the fish camp.
it just didn't like being held up by it's tail, but this
guy was in a nasty mood! He bristled all over with
claws, ridges, and sharp points and had a really mean
looking hook on his beak. He hissed and lunged a lot,
bare-footed I was keeping my distance as I took these photos.
said this was an Alligator Snapping Turtle, and
as it was the meanest looking turtle I had ever seen I
had no problem believing it!
Mann, of the Houston
Zoo Herpetology Section, sent me a note telling me "That
is a common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) not an
alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemmys temminckii)."
the internet for photos of actual alligator snapping turtles
and saw that this one does look tame in comparison, so
I asked Mr. Mann for a little information on this guy.
He was nice enough to write back with the following:
"The common snapping turtle
is commonly misidentified as an alligator snapping
turtle. As you probably saw in the pictures, the alligator
snapping turtle has a much rougher shell than its more
common relative and has a much larger head with a prominent "beak" on
the top part of its jaw in the front of its head.
Alligator snapping turtles are much
larger (and rarer) than their common snapping turtle relative
which weighs a maximum of about 50 pounds."
The turtle was
put down on the ground, and after a few cautious moments
he started walking to the water. I carefully stood
on a bench.
As he disappeared
into the dark water we all shared a thought - "There
goes one more good reason not to swim in this water!"