Alligator Snapping Turtle One Step Closer

Cowboy_Ken

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Alligator Snapping Turtle One Step Closer to Endangered Species Protection

Largest Freshwater Turtle in North America Threatened by
Ongoing Habitat Destruction Across Midwest, Southeast
Press Release from Center for Biological Diversity, August 30, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity today reached a settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requiring the agency to determine by 2020 whether the alligator snapping turtle will receive protection under the Endangered Species Act. A prehistoric-looking freshwater turtle known for its spiked shell, large claws and strong, beaked jaws, the alligator snapper has declined up to 95 percent across its historic range. In response to a 2012 petition from the Center, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined last year that the alligator snapping turtle may warrant federal protection.

“Alligator snapping turtles are disappearing from many of the areas they historically lived,” said Elise Bennett, a Center attorney whose work is dedicated to protecting rare reptiles and amphibians. “The evidence is strong these freshwater giants need Endangered Species Act protection to survive.”

Habitat degradation and over harvest have caused significant population declines for the once-abundant turtle. Early in the 20th century alligator snapping turtles were plentiful in U.S. river systems draining into the Gulf of Mexico, from the waterways and lakes of the upper Midwest to the swamps and bayous of Florida, Louisiana and Texas. But recent population surveys show the turtles are now likely extirpated in Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. A 2014 study revealed that the alligator snapping turtle is actually three different species and therefore even more critically endangered than previously thought.

“This settlement is a welcome first step,” said Bennett. “Now the Service needs to evaluate and act according to the best science we have, which shows that these three species deserve full Endangered Species Act protection.”

Contact: Elise Bennett, (727) 755-6950; [email protected]
 

tglazie

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Strange, I was unaware that alligator snappers occurred so far north. I always thought they were a giant species of the Southeast. I also was unaware that they were classified into multiple species. I mean, it makes sense, given the enormous range and varying habitats across that range, but shoot, I never knew. It makes sense that they're disappearing, though. Seems the only turtle that's gaining in population these days is that darned red eared slider. Soon enough that's going to be the only species of aquatic turtle left in the world.

T.G.
 

saginawhxc

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I don't think they do occur so far north. The guy claimed his friend bred them. I don't pretend to know the truth behind that.

They are fascinating creatures though. Definitely a bucket list type animal for me I won't get one though unless I can go above and beyond for it, and I can't guarantee that I can do that for an alligator snapper. Plus, what the heck will my family do with it when I'm gone? It's one thing to pass on my tortoises and another to pass on an actual Dinosaur.
 

mark1

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i wonder if the red eared slider is actually doing well either ? other than being artificially introduced into other native turtles habitats , and out competing them for the time being . i seen a study done within their natural range , in areas where in 1976 hundreds of turtles were trapped , and in 2003 single digits , and in some cases none were trapped in these same areas ......... maybe they'll just be the last ones standing .......... painted turtles are tough as any red eared slider , and i personally know places they have been extirpated ........ the only thing the pet trade does for these turtles is introduces people to them , and some learn to care about them .........
 

tglazie

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Yeah, that's what I thought too. I was referring to the article Cowboy Ken posted. It says they occur in the waters of the upper midwest. Now, I know that common snappers occur that far north, but I was unaware alligator snappers did. And as far as I was aware, there was an entirely separate genus designation for alligator snappers, and that common snappers were distinct from Florida snappers, with many arguing for further local variants of such divergence as to suggest separate species or subspecies status.

T.G.
 

saginawhxc

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Almost run this guy over with the work van a couple of months ago. We are almost two hours north of Detroit.
 

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mike taylor

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I keep common snapping turtles . I want a alligator snapping turtle so bad . One of most favourite turtles on the planet. One day I'll have one of my very own .
 

saginawhxc

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I am adding a common to my collection as soon as we get in the new house. I have a dream of having a billiards room with a gigantic tank at one end for my snapper.
 

Berkeley

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Yes, alligator snappers range a good portion of the way up the mighty Mississippi River. Their range runs into nearly the top third of Illinois and portions of Iowa. They go surprisingly far north!

As far as the split, it is mostly the southern portion of the range that got split up into the two new ones. There is now M. temminckii, M. appalachicolae, and M. suwanniensis.

If anyone is interested, I have a PDF of the paper outlining the changes I can add in to this thread or send to you.

--Berkeley
 

mike taylor

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I'd like to know how they get their numbers . Snapping turtle aren't really an easy turtle to find . They're masters at camouflage.
 

saginawhxc

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I keep common snapping turtles . I want a alligator snapping turtle so bad . One of most favourite turtles on the planet. One day I'll have one of my very own .
Out of curiosity, what is keeping you from it? I live in Michigan, so I would have to have indoor housing for one. I'm thinking maybe a 800 gallon stock tank might work, but it seems small to me. I shudder at the thought of how expensive housing it for the winter would get if it outgrows that stock tank.
 

Cowboy_Ken

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Out of curiosity, what is keeping you from it? I live in Michigan, so I would have to have indoor housing for one. I'm thinking maybe a 800 gallon stock tank might work, but it seems small to me. I shudder at the thought of how expensive housing it for the winter would get if it outgrows that stock tank.
Jacuzzi or hot tub indoors with finer filters.
 

mike taylor

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Out of curiosity, what is keeping you from it? I live in Michigan, so I would have to have indoor housing for one. I'm thinking maybe a 800 gallon stock tank might work, but it seems small to me. I shudder at the thought of how expensive housing it for the winter would get if it outgrows that stock tank.
I'd have to check my laws but in Texas you have to have permitting. Or have some pretty good paper work on an out of state one . Just don't want to get myself in any trouble.
 

saginawhxc

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I'd have to check my laws but in Texas you have to have permitting. Or have some pretty good paper work on an out of state one . Just don't want to get myself in any trouble.
Since they aren't native to Michigan I can keep them here. The common on the other hand seems to sit in a grey area. They are the only turtle that can be still trapped for commercial reasons, but only two per season. We can't take any turtle from the wild and keep it as a pet, but they say nothing about whether that applies to captive born. Some say it does, and some claim csptive born are okay.

We also have four turtles that are completely protected. I don't remember what they were off the top of my head but one was the Eastern Box if I remember right. Illegal to take, keep, or "harass" in any way.

PS
Commons are considered a nuisance turtle up here. Even most reptile enthusiasts give me a weird look when I say I want one.
 

saginawhxc

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Came within an inch of coming home with an AST hatchling this weekend. Came across one at a local reptile expo. We are regulars and I have never seen one there before. If I hadn't been dumb enough to tell my girlfriend "no new animals" before walking in I would have walked out with it.

I actually have a 40g breeder tank all ready and set up specifically for it sitting out in my tort shed which is already heated to the perfect temperature! It made walking away extremely hard, but we are weeks from moving to a new house, so funds are a little tighter than I'm used to right now.

This close though. I keep thinking about digging up the guys info and getting a hold of him...
 

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