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The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in the world. It lies practically motionless on the bottom of a lake or river. A thick layer of algae grows on its shell to help it blend in with its habitat. Opening its mouth, it wiggles a pink worm-like tongue to lure in passing fish and—SNAP!—dinner is served.

Alligator snapping turtle underwater

Did You Know?

Long-Lived: Turtles are very long-lived animals, and alligator snapping turtles can live to be 100 years old.

Quick Facts

Latin Name:
Macroclemys temmnicki

Southeastern United States

Wetlands, lakes, and rivers

1.3 to 2.7 ft

100 years

Zoo Location:
Manatee Springs


Risk Status:
Species at Risk (IUCN—Vulnerable)