Researchers from the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (the research division of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) had quite a surprise in their turtle trap during the week of August 21st. When they lifted their traps, they were astounded to find they’d captured a giant 100-pound Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle.
“I’ve seen big snapping turtles before while fishing,” says Pete. “But nothing like that. I remember the first one I ever saw. It was up near Sudbury, Ontario, when my dad, while still-fishing with a minnow, brought up a monster of a snapper that was probably thirty-plus pounds. Being so young, my mind was blown away!”
Snapping turtles are one of those ancient-looking beasts that never change.
“While filming at Martin River Lodge a few years ago, we had a snapper come right up to the underwater camera,” recalls Angelo. “They can really move when they’re in a hurry.”
Alligator snapping turtles are different from common snapping turtles. The main differences are the alligator variety is much heavier, their shells have more defined ridges, and they also have their eyes on the side of their heads. Common snapping turtles have forward-pointing eyes.
However, the alligator snapper’s most distinct feature is its worm-like tongue, which it uses to lure in fish close enough to “snap” the unsuspecting swimmer for a quick snack.
Nature is awesome!
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute | The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) is the research division of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. For more information visit MyFWC.com/Research.