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Alligator Snapping Turtle Found In Oregon Reservoir

Alligator Snapping Turtle Invades Oregon

An alligator snapping turtle was found in Prineville Reservoir in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife received reports that a giant turtle was spotted last week. When they finally located the reptile they were stunned, as the species is not native to the area.

Wildlife officials safely captured and euthanized the turtle. Prineville biologist Greg Jackle said the reptile was sedated prior to euthanization, according to American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines.

The shell will be saved as a learning tool. Officials believe an area resident purchased the turtle as a baby. As it grew older, the owner likely realized some turtles do not make good pets. Unfortunately, unwanted pets quickly become invasive species.

Alligator snapping turtles are very small and cute when they are born. However, they reach an average of 175 pounds and can live up to 100 years. The reptiles have a spiked upper shell, a beak-shaped mouth, and powerful jaws. They can become very aggressive when provoked.

As reported by National Geographic, the turtles are native to the southeastern United States. Their only known predator is the human. The turtles are hunted as trophies, souvenirs, and for the exotic pet trade.

According to the Statesman Journal, wildlife officials hope the alligator snapping turtle shell will educate people about dumping unwanted pets into the wild. Invasive species often start out as pets. Unfortunately, they can wreak havoc on an ecosystem. Alligators, snakes, and certain turtles are a specific concern as they eat local wildlife and can attack people.

Invasive species coordinator Rick Boatner said the particular breed is rarely seen in Oregon, although other parts of the state have experienced problems with different species of snapping turtles.

Alligator snapping turtles are probably not ideal pets, and they certainly do not belong in the northwest United States. Wildlife officials said the turtle probably would not have survived the winter.

[Image via Flickr]

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Comments

10 Responses to “Alligator Snapping Turtle Found In Oregon Reservoir”

  1. Lynda Augustine

    I wondered the same thing. They say the shell is going to be used as education about how big they get and how they don't make good pets once they're that big. Did it really have to be euthanized in order for people to be educated? Although it might be dangerous as a pet, it didn't put itself in the reservoir and could have been relocated to a zoo or sanctuary.

  2. Lynda Augustine

    I agree it didn't belong in Orgeon, but it's not the alligator snapping turtle who decided to go to Oregon. It was the stupid Oregonian who apparently bought it and irresponsibly ditched it in a reservoir. Not the animal's fault.

  3. Anonymous

    There is NO way it would have died thru winter. In Fullerton CA, there was a place called LAGUNA LAKE, i would go there late and night and party with friends….we would always here the sounds of ducks being murdered (strange huh?) when they finally drained the lake many many many years later, they found a 75+ pound snapping turtle in there too. Nothing can kill them except mankind. Heres a link i found for the story of OLD BOB: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2012/08/old_bob_fullerton_laguna_lake.php

  4. Anonymous

    Why did you kill it? Translocate to SE part of the country where they are part of nature. How do you know it has not already survived the winter there?

  5. Tyler Anthony Romano

    If only we had so much luck in northern Illinois, where the population went extinct. The attempt at restoring a population was thwarted by river otters (they massacred the replacement population).