Alligator Snapping Turtle - Macroclemys temminckii
The Alligator Snapping Turtle is found in the Mississippi River and its tributaries throughout the Southeastern U.S. They are also found in the Missouri River at least as far north as the Gavins Point Dam at Yankton, South Dakota. It is also present in Indiana on the state's endangered species list. It has been recorded in Morgan County, IN(south east) in 1991 and captured but not recorded, within the last 15 years, in Newton County, IN (north west).
They can be identified by their three large, pronounced ridges running from the front to the back of their very large shells. They have a snout that is pointed and their eyes are on the sides of their heads instead of the top like the common snapping turtle.
26 in (66 cm) and up to 220 lbs (100 kg)
20 to 70 years
The alligator snapper employs a unique natural lure in its hunting technique. Its tongue sports a bright-red, worm-shaped piece of flesh that, when displayed by a motionless turtle on a river bottom, draws curious fish or frogs close enough to be snatched.
The Alligator Snapping Turtle will reach maturity at about 11 to 13 years of age. They usually mate during the months of April and June, nesting about 2 months later. The clutches number 8 to 52 eggs in a nest just off the water's edge. Incubation lasts from 80 to 110 days. The sex of their offspring is determined by the incubation temperature.
Endangered or vulnerable depending on the state. The IUCN lists them as "vulnerable", IDNR lists them as "endangered", and CITES lists them as "Appendix III".
- Alligator Snapping Turtles have a worm shaped “lure” attached to the top of their tongue that is used to attract their prey. The turtle will lay with its mouth open, flick the lure, and when a fish or frog comes to grab the lure, the turtle will snap its mouth shut.
- Sedentary animals that spend most of the time underwater, and only surfacing every 40 to 50 minutes for air.
- Adult snappers have no natural predators other than humans, who capture them for their meat and shells, and to sell in the exotic animal trade. A severe reduction in population due to unregulated harvesting and habitat loss has led states to protect them throughout most of their range, and they are listed as a threatened species.
- The prehistoric-looking alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America and among the largest in the world.
- Often referred to as the “dinosaur of the turtle world.”
- Peoria Zoo is currently working with the Department of Natural Resources to breed Alligator Snapping Turtles and return them to the wild.
- Adult (13 and over)$9.50
- Child (2 - 12)$6.50
- Child (1 and Under)FREE
- Senior (65+)$8.50
- Active Military$8.50
We begin transferring animals to evening (off exhibit) holding at 4:30 each night.
Open Daily 10:00-5:00
Last admission at 4:30