ALLIGATOR TURTLE - Characteristics, behavior and photos!

Alligator turtle: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The alligator snapping turtle is known as such because of its skin...

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The alligator snapping turtle is known as such because of its scaly, crocodile-like skin and powerful bite. With more and more followers, this turtle is one of the most curious and ferocious specimens on the planet.


  • America
  • United States


The alligator snapping turtle comes from the United States, lives in Mississippi and is known to be one of the largest water turtles in the region.It is also found in the Suwanee rivers or in tributaries in Texas and Florida. These are the regions that present the best conditions for the development of our shelled friend.

The alligator snapping turtle reaches sexual maturity between the ages of 11 and 13 in both sexes and exhibits virtually no sexual dimorphism. At the time of reproduction, the animal builds a nest in the sand or the mixture with peat and leaf litter, both at the water's edge and on dry land. The female lays only once a year and, as a rule, from 10 to 50 eggs, the incubation of which lasts about 100 or even 140 days. Out of curiosity, we will add that depending on the incubation temperature which can be high, it will result in the birth of females and if it is lower, of males.

These animals can reach 70 years in captivity, which does not happen in all species, although if their development is different they are usually smaller.

The daily coexistence between males and females is impossible, because it generates a lot of aggression between them. On the other hand, although it is not common for two females to live together, it can happen if they are both well fed.

The alligator turtle has been on Earth for over 10 million years, which is why it is a real dinosaur. Unfortunately, it is currently threatened by poaching and habitat destruction.

Physical Appearance

Turtles are generally slow-moving, peaceful and hide in their shells for fear of becoming prey. The alligator snapping turtle, which belongs to the Chelydridae family, although it is not an aggressive turtle, is distinguished by the ferocity of its bite which is much more powerful than in other species.

There are three different species of alligator snapping turtles, according to a recent National Geographic study, and they can live for almost a century.

It is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world, reaching an impressive size of 80 kilos by about 75 centimeters in length. Measures that leave no one indifferent. The heaviest specimen reached 110 kilos! The head is large, broad, robust and imposing, and at the end of its body there is a tail which can be as long as or even longer than its entire body.

The highlight of this turtle's physiognomy is its vermiform tongue, bright red in color, similar to the shape of worms and used as bait due to its ability to attract fish. Its brown, gray and generally dark colors allow it to easily camouflage itself with its surroundings and to catch its prey more easily.

Why is the alligator turtle so imposing?

It's not just for his physical appearance or his great predatory qualities. The alligator snapping turtle has a formidable physiognomy.Its shell consists of three ridges with spikes of different sizes, its snout is covered in spikes, and its jaws can easily tear off a human hand.


Alligator snapping turtles are distant relatives of common snapping turtles, although the former are less aggressive than the latter. Despite the fierce appearance of the alligator snapping turtle, the truth is that it has a very studied technique and does not attack aggressively, but rather waits with its mouth open for the chance to properly catch its prey so that 'she can't escape.

She has certain customs that characterize her in her daily life, they are quite methodical turtles. For example, they usually do not move on land, they live in water almost all the time, moving on the bottom, where it is easier to find food. It tends to remain motionless, hidden among rocks and plants in order to catch distracted prey that approaches without knowing that it will serve as a link in the food chain of this exotic animal.


At the beginning of its life, the alligator snapping turtle is carnivorous and over time it becomes omnivorous, accepting new foods.

In the wild, it feeds on fish, amphibians, snakes, crustaceans and even carrion. On the other hand, in captivity, it accepts any type of meat such as rodents, cattle, poultry and pork. He's a predator.


Due to its threatened status in the wild and the risks it represents, keeping this animal in captivity is not recommended.

This is a turtle that should only be owned by experts and should never be removed from its natural environment, as it is protected in many natural areas and parks such as in Venezuela.

The animal needs abundant space, both in water and on land, due to the large size it can reach as an adult.These turtles are quiet and live happily in environments where they find dense vegetation, rocks, and live prey. You must have an aquarium at least one meter deep to house this powerful species.

The temperature of the terrarium should be around 22-29°C, so that if in summer the animal can inhabit a large pond, in winter you should place it inside the house with the matching heater to maintain temperature.

As we said before, this turtle, even though it is a defense mechanism, can be really aggressive, so you have to be very careful if you handle one.

Pictures of Alligator turtle

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