Alligator Snapping Turtle

Biological classification
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Chelydridae
Appearance
The largest freshwater turtles in the world. The weight of adult alligator turtles varies within 10-80 kg, and the length of carapace is 3080 cm. However, in captivity, alligator turtles can gain weight over 100 kg. The head is massive, with strong jaws. Carapace with three distinct rows of spikes on the back with complex architecture surface. Limbs are covered with horny shields and armed with long claws.
Distribution and mode of life
Stable populations of alligator snapping turtles are common in southeastern United States in large river basins flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Sexually mature individuals inhabit mainly in the deep parts of rivers, young animals in ponds with a slight flow. Alligator turtle spends most of its life in the water. These turtles can stay continuously in water for 40-50 minutes. They are so immobile under water that algae can cover their armor, making turtles almost invisible to fish.
Life-span in the wild is on average 23-26 years, in captivity can live up to 70 years.
Diet
The basis of the diet is fish that the turtle lures, having opened the mouth and shaking the pink scarlet tip of the tongue. Turtles can also consume mollusks, frogs, insects, aquatic plants. Sometimes turtles of other species and medium-sized mammals become the prey of alligator snapping turtle.
Breeding
Breeding season depends on the habitat of the population. Mating occurs in water. Two months after the mating, the female lays from 8 to 52 eggs in the nest dug in the soil. The distance from the nest to the reservoir in most cases does not exceed 45 m. The period of incubation is from 100 to 140 days, and in autumn newborn turtles appear from eggs. Alligator snapping turtle reaches sexual maturity at the age of 11-13 years under conditions that the sizes of carapace is more than 30 cm.
Conservation status
The species is on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (VU vulnerable), listed on the CITES (Annex II).
In Kyiv Zoo, alligator snapping turtle lives in a separate module at the Island of Animals exhibition.
Alligator  Snapping Turtle