Alligator Snapping Turtle
Alligator Snapping Turtle.jpg
Conservation Status
VU (IUCN 2.3)
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Chelydridae
Genus: Macrochelys
Species: M. temminckii
Binomial Name
Macrochelys temminckii
The Alligator Snapping Turtle is a carnivorous species of turtle, and one of the largest (as well as the heaviest) freshwater turtles in the world. An appendage at the end of its tongue visually resembles an earthworm, and is used as bait to lure prey.



The alligator snapping turtle is often known to feed on fish of various sizes. However, it will eat any manageable prey item, including molluscs, carrion, amphibians, sakes, crayfish, water birds, plants, and other turtles. One study from Louisiana determined that 79.8% of stomach contents of adults was comprised by other turtles. Occasionally, they may prey on rodents, such as nutrias and muskrats, or even take other small and mid-sized mammals, including squirrels, opossums, raccoons and armadillos when they attempt to enter their territory to swim or come to the water's edge to drink. On rare accounts, they have been known to kill and eat small American alligators.