A 100-pound alligator snapping turtle turned up while Oklahoma residents Dave Harrell and Audey Clark were out cat fishing, and the pair captured an impressive picture with the prehistoric-looking reptile.
KOCO Oklahoma reports that the men were shocked when they pulled up such a massive creature
on a simple rod and reel in Mill Creek at Eufala Lake, and sent the picture to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to find out just what it was.
The department posted the picture to its Facebook page, explaining that it is the much larger — and much rarer — cousin to the common snapping turtle, sometimes known as a "loggerhead" snapping turtle. From the picture, they estimate the turtle was in the 100- to 110-pound range, and could many years from now reach nearly 200 pounds. The largest one on record tipped the scales at 205 pounds.
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Barry Downer, curator of herpetology and aquatics for the Tulsa Zoo, explained that the large reptiles "were extirpated from most of northeast Oklahoma and are currently the subject of reintroduction efforts."
With the help of the wildlife department, zoo, Missouri State and Oklahoma State universities, and Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery, he said roughly 300 of the turtles had been reared and released into the wild in recent years, Tulsa World reported
Department spokesman Micah Holmes said that many people misidentify common snapping turtles — which can only weigh up to 50 pounds — as the alligator variety.
"It’s kind of like water moccasins. People see a snake in the water and say it’s a water moccasin, they see a snapping turtle and say it’s an alligator snapper while most often is a common snapping turtle," he said.
Jeana Donnell, ODC Wildlife diversity information specialist, told The McAlester News-Capital that the turtles do bite
, but generally keep to themselves when left alone.
Despite having no teeth, she confirmed that they are carnivorous, dining on "fish, frogs, aquatic insects and other turtles."
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