Fifty-one-year-old Patrick Castleberry snapped the scene at the Okefenokee Swamp and was astonished to discover the turtle survived the attack. The wildlife photographer, who was at the scene to study herons, photographed several images from the 15-minute fight.
After the six-foot South American alligator gave up his would-be meal and wandered off, Mr. Castleberry found the Eastern River Cooter alive and well, its shell unharmed by the gator’s powerful jaws.
Not every turtle is so lucky — alligators bite down with a force of up to 2,900 pounds of pressure, and turtles form part of their diet. This hardy fellow was an exceptional survivor.
Photographer Patrick was in no doubt about who had won the confrontation. He told The Daily Mail:
“It was definitely turtle one, alligator nil. I was taking shots of a great heron and saw out the corner of my eye what looked like a ball bouncing beside the water.
“I quickly realised what it was and thought the alligator was going to win in the end at cracking the shell. When he finally gave up I walked over to the turtle expecting it to be dead and was amazed to find it quite alive and on its back. I flipped it over and it scrambled into the water.”
Researchers have shown a keen interest in studying turtle shells, hoping to apply their findings to human armor.
Experts say turtle shells evolved to prevent the animals from being eaten; it seems to be working well so far!
[Image via Shutterstock.com]