Alligator Snapping Turtles

(Originally posted as a wise-ass response to a Pit thread)

Did you know, boys and girls, that the Alligator Snapping Turtle can actually jump off the ground? Not only have I seen it, but have a picture of one in mid-air flight (about 4 inches off the ground) where it lunged at me.

My last close encounter was when me and the SO were in Arkansas. We were driving towards Dogpatch when we both saw a HUGE Alligator Snapping Turtle on the gravel shoulder, about to cross the road. All I wanted to do was get away. I knew what the turtles could do, being a good ol’ Kansas girl. But the SO said “Oh! That poor big turtle is going to be hit by a car! Go out and save it!” Those turtles are EVIL. Ever look in their eyes? The Alligator Snapping Turtle has a strange gleam in it’s eye, that has probably been passed down since the Tertiary period. The gleam says “I’m going to kill you. Just wait and see.”

You can’t shoo them off a busy highway. If you try to go around to their backside, they face off with you, and rotate as you move around them. Then, they lunge and make a sort of hissing noise. Ever had a turtle hiss at you in rage? And the things are HUGE. I mean, a shell about 2 feet by 20 inches, great big nasty jaws, and they must weigh about 30-40 pounds. When they snap their jaws shut, it makes a CLACK! that puts your hair on end.

I’m lucky I didn’t lose any fingers or toes. After it lunged at me a few times, I walked away and searched in the brush by the roadside and found a stick. Then I turned around


I squealed and jumped back, and it kept stalking towards me, it’s beak-shaped mouth hanging open. Then I noticed 2 guys were standing behind me, watching with amusement. The bigger of the two opened his mouth with a gap-toothed smile and said:

“Do you want that turtle m’am?”

“No, I’m trying to get it off the road. Do you want to help me?”

He looked at me funny for a moment, almost blushed, and said “Naw, we’re gonna EAT it.”

A thousand things came to my mind, and I swear my mouth was hanging open. Then I looked at the poor old turtle, veteran of a thousand skirmishes with dogs, kids, badgers, - looked deep into his reptilian eyes, and said:

“Go for it.”

As I got back in the car, I turned to see the two guys trying to wrap it in a large fishing net, and saw it start leaping towards them in rage. The SO said “Are they going to help that turtle?”


It was a quiet drive to the hotel.

For pictures of the Alligator Snapping Turtle, see:


Funny Animated GIF

And OH MY GOD CLICK ON THESE LINKS - This looks just like the one that attacked me!

MONSTER Alligator Snapper

MONSTER Alligator Snapper 2

OH MY GOD!!! I owuld have never gotten out of my car. turtle or not! That is some scary tortoise! My gentlr little area gopher Tortoises are nice. They drink water from my hose. They waddle across my yard and ignore you.

beware they pee on you if you pickthey up though!!!

Next time tell the SO to save the turtle while you wait in the car !

Those things are vicious !

No doubt where someone got the inspiration for mutant ninjas…

I have one as a pet and he is about 1-2 years old. Really little for a monster. He has jumped about two feet. My father likes tpo piss him off with a pen. I’m gonna get sooo week when the turtle bites his hand off. hehe.

BTW, Father, doesn’t poke him with the pen. He takes the flat end and pets the top of his head and when he opens his mouth he waves the pen back and forth, not touch his toungue/mouth, trying to get him to bite.

I’ll say it again Little Rock-et:

Alligator turtles are a threatened species. It’s your call, obviously, but I hope you decide to return that critter to the wild so it can reproduce.

After looking at those pictures, I may never swim in fresh water again. Certainly not below the Mason Dixon line.

When I was about ten years old, I and another guy hassled an alligator snapper. It made a lunge at us and we ran for our lives. I don’t think I will ever forget the sheer menace that creature projected.

Aha, if you read this, it was out at the spillway on the south end of Whiterock Lake.

When we lived in TN, hubby and I used to do what we would call “Turtle Rescue”. this involved stopping at the roadside and moving turtles off the road so they didn’t end up flat.

Never moved a snapper though. Lots of painted ones and little wood tortises. cute little buggers. But was it appreciated? I never even got a thank you card!:wink:

well, here in MN, we actually get Snapping turtles that size,
a couple years ago, I was fishing at my favorite lake, which funnels into a pond, PERFECT for largemouth bass.
so I was walking, in sandals, mind you, out a LITTLE Further, not watching where I was stepping…
suddenly, I saw the lake bottom move a couple feet in front of me, I thought, aw, I’ll bet THAT was a cute little sunny,
so I kept walking, my foo was LITERALLY about 4 inches above the shell, and I noticed him move his head…
Whoops I thought, that’s not right…
I RAN through the water out of the lake and the thing, (like Anthracite’s) chased me, I finally had to get a log to beat him down with…

(didn’t need my Ugly Stik, he was disgusting enough)
so I share my condolances, Anthracite!!!

Thats a picture of a little turtle. Where is the Monster picture thats promised?

Uhhhh…are you clicking on the proper links? The ones that show the picture of the turtle the size of a manhole cover?

Yup! And never hold a baby 'gator under the belly. Learned that one the hard way at Gatorland.