Monday, October 8, 2007

alligator snapping turtle

The prehistoric-looking alligator snapping turtle is the biggest freshwater turtle in North America and among the biggest in the whole world. Found almost exclusively in the rivers, canals, and lakes of the southeastern US, alligator snappers have a lifespan of 50 to 100 years old! Males average 26 inches (66 centimeters) in shell length and weigh about 175 lbs (79.4 kilograms), although they have been known to exceed 220 lbs (100 kilograms). The much smaller females top out at around 50 lbs (22.7 kilograms). They are a reptile and are a predetar.
The alligator snapper uses a unique natural lure in its hunting technique. Its tongue is like a bright-red, worm-shaped piece of flesh that, when displayed by a motionless turtle on a river bottom, draws curious fish or frogs close enough to be snatched and eaten. Their scientific name is Macrochelys temminckii.

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