The Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) is currently known as one of the world’s largest freshwater turtle, weighing about 68 to 80 kg. However there have been reports of these formidable turtles weighing over 100kg.
Alligator Snapping Turtles hunt mainly by sitting and waiting motionless in the water with its scissor-shape jaws wide open. The inside of the turtle´s mouth is camouflaged and it possesses a vermiform (literally “worm-like”) appendage on the tip of its tongue used to lure fish. The vermiform tongue imitates the movements of a small wriggling pinkish worm, enticing the prey towards its mouth. The hooked upper and lower beaks are then closed with tremendous speed and force (delivering a powerful bite).
Males spend their entire lives at the bottom of lakes or rivers, but the females leave the water in spring to lay clutches of 10 – 50 spherical eggs, buried in mud or sand. Incubation takes from 100 to 140 days, and hatchlings emerge in the early fall.