Where to Find on Campus: Bayou, Mississippi River Center

The Alligator Snapping Turtle, often confused with the common snapping turtle, is the largest freshwater turtle in North America. Something that distinguishes this turtle from others is that its eyes are on the side of its head rather than the front.*

Diet: The diet of the snapping turtle consists of birds, fish, insects, reptiles, and more! The turtle typically lays motionless in the water and wiggles its appendage on their tongue to lure fish.*

Lifespan: In the wild, females will live an average of 23 years while males live an average of 26 years. In captivity, the turtle can live upwards of 80 years!*

Size: Being the largest snapping turtle in America, the Alligator Snapping Turtle can reach 180 pounds and can grow up to three feet. The appearance of this turtle is very distinct given the three ridges on its back.*

Conservation Story: According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Alligator Snapping Turtle is listed as vulnerable.

Due to human exploitation, the turtle is threatened (especially in Louisiana). Unfortunately, the turtle did not warrant protection from the Endangered Species Act in 1999. In 2004, Louisiana put a ban on hunting the animal.*

Meet our Alligator Snapping Turtles: Our turtles came to us from the Greensboro Zoo in 2011. They are still young and in their “teenage years”! The two are brothers but cannot be in the same enclosure due to being territorial.

Some information referenced on this page came from Animal Diversity.