Alligator Snapping Turtle

King of the Wetlands

What are the wetlands?

Generally, wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface (Cowardin, December 1979). Wetlands vary widely because of regional and local differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation, and other factors, including human disturbance. Indeed, wetlands are found from the tundra to the tropics and on every continent except Antarctica.

Wetland Protection

The federal government protects wetlands through regulations, economic incentives, and cooperative programs. Beyond the federal level, a number of states have enacted laws to regulate activities in wetlands, and some counties and towns have adopted local wetlands protection ordinances or have changed the way development is permitted.

The Alligator Snapping Turtle


The prehistoric-looking alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America and among the largest in the world. With its spiked shell, beaklike jaws, and thick, scaled tail, this species is often referred to as the "dinosaur of the turtle world." Found mostly in the southeast United States, these turtles can live 50 to 100 years and weigh up to 175 pounds.

Did you know...?

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.

A threatened species

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.

Works Cited

Alligator Snapping Turtles. Myspace. Missouri Conservation, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <>.

National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <>.

US EPA. US government, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <>.

US EPA. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <>.