Alligator Snapping Turtle
The Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macroclemys temminckii) is a larger yet less aggressive relative of the common snapping turtle. It is characterized by a large, heavy head and a thick tail with a dorsal ridge of large scales which gives it a primitive appearance reminiscent of some of the plated dinosaurs. The inside of the turtle’s mouth is camouflaged and it possesses a vermiform appendage on the tip of its tongue with which it lures fish.
Like the common snapping turtle, the alligator snapping turtle lives in a largely aquatic environment and its natural diet consists primarily of small fish and amphibians.
Although some people have raised alligator snapping turtles as pets, keeping them in a bathtub or children’s wading pool, this practice is not recommended. The alligator snapping turtle’s aggressive temperament makes handling it exceedingly dangerous, particularly to children or to other household pets. Furthermore, removing alligator snapping turtles from the wild damages the ecosystems from which they are taken, and is illegal in many jurisdictions.