The largest alligator snapping turtle ever caught weighed many times more than the famous Facebook photo that has been spreading around recently.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, the alligator snapping turtle photo shows a catfish angler holding a 100 pound specimen that he accidentally snagged with his reel while fishing at Lake Eufaula in Oklahoma. Biologist Todd Craighead said the alligator snapping turtle’s size is not even close to being a record:
“Nothing uncommon. It’s a big turtle, but they’re everywhere.”
There’s actually some discrepancies between the reports on this particular alligator snapping turtle, or whether it was just a common snapping turtle in the first place. Technically, they are considered two separate species. The difference between the common snapping turtle, or Chelydra serpentina, and the alligator snapping turtle, or Macrochelys temminckii, is that the alligator version has a row of nasty-looking spikes running down their spine while the common snapping turtle has a more normal-looking smooth shell. Because the Facebook photo shows the underside only, it’s possible we’re not looking at an alligator snapping turtle at all.
That’s not the only issue. Although the photo shows quite a mean little guy, the reports vary between 50 and 100 pounds. To put this in perspective, adults typically reach between 155 and 175 pounds, while a common snapping turtle usually only reaches around 30 pounds in the wild. So the Facebook photo either shows a very big common snapping turtle or a relatively small alligator snapping turtle.
Now according to unverified reports the largest alligator snapping turtle ever caught was snagged on the Neosho River in Kansas in 1937. It is said this monstrous beast weighed at least 400 pounds, but scientists never confirmed this estimate. But let’s put it this way… the largest confirmed specimen of an alligator snapping turtle weighed in at 236 pounds, so this means the Facebook photo depicts a snapper that is less than half the size!