There are plenty of creatures that inhabit our planet that you wouldn’t want to encounter face-to-face. Whether it’s because they’re venomous, intimidatingly large, or prone to aggressive attacks, staying far away from them is advisable.
One creature that you may not have ever heard of—but that definitely fits into the category of “animals to avoid”—is the alligator snapping turtle. You probably knew snapping turtles were dangerous enough, but these guys are even more fearsome than you might have assumed.
Here are 10 amazing facts about alligator snapping turtles that will make you second-guess your next leisurely swim in a lake…
1. There are only three known species of alligator snapping turtles that exist in the world. For over a century, experts thought every one of them belonged to one single species, but in 2014, a study found that there are actually two more.
2. They are absolutely enormous. Can you imagine running into this guy while out for a swim in a lake? Males are usually larger than females, and they can weigh upwards of 175 pounds. There have even been a few cases of turtles that have clocked in at over 200 pounds. That’s a lot of turtle!
Florida Fish and Wildlife / Flickr
3. Alligator snapping turtles are meat-eaters and they usually dine on fish. However, they have been known to eat almost anything they can get their mouths around, including snakes, frogs, and even raccoons! In some instances, they’ve eaten other turtles and small alligators. That’s quite the appetite!
4. Many people might think that alligator snapping turtles are similar to regular snapping turtles, but they’re not. The biggest difference can be seen in their shell structure. Common snappers have a smooth rounded shell, but alligator snappers’ shells feature raised spikes, which look much more intimidating. In the picture below, the alligator snapping turtle is on the left.
Find more amazing facts on the next page!