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 almost exclusively in the rivers, canals, and lakes of the southeastern United States, alligator snappers can live to be 50 to 100 years old. Males average 26 inches in shell length and weigh about 175 pounds, although they have been known to exceed 220 pounds. The much smaller females top out at around 50 pounds.
Alligator snappers spend most of their lives in water, the exception being when females trudge about 160 feet inland to nest. They can