Mark Grossmann: The Giant Alligator Snapping Turtle – the Perfect Pet!?

17 April 2014

Mark Grossmann of Hazelwood, Missouri & Belleville, Illinois

About the Author

It was just typical day browsing on the Internet. A story caught my eye. It was about a Louisiana man named Travis Lewis. When he was outside his home, something caught his eye. At first, he thought he saw an unusually large log in a nearby canal.

But with a closer look, he realized that, what he thought was a log, was actually a giant turtle. A giant turtle. It had a head the size of a football and was about 4 feet long. It was, in fact, an alligator snapping turtle. The turtle was wedged in a culvert – stuck.

What does an alligator snapping turtle look like? Well, let’s just say that a dinosaur could mistake one of these turtles for its cousin. Really, just look at the pictures below.


The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America.  It has a spiked shell and a beak-like jaw. These turtles can reach 250 pounds and live for almost 200 years. They enjoy hanging out at the bottom of lakes, rivers, and canals.  This turtle has no natural predators other than human beings. The turtle, itself, eats snakes, clams, and other turtles.


“Close your mouth, turtle!” “I don’t want to be your dentist or your next meal!”

This snapping turtle can close its jaw with incredible speed. But, as one article explained, reassuringly, many other snapping turtles have a more powerful bite than the alligator snapping turtle. In fact, relative to its size, this turtle’s bite is no more powerful than that of a human being. The source went on to add, cheerfully, that these turtles can bite through bone.


If I’d seen this turtle in a nearby canal, my next steps would have been to go inside my home, call animal control, and lock my door and windows.   But in Louisiana, a giant, prehistoric-looking turtle with a bone-crushing bite inspires a different reaction.

Travis Lewis immediately called for his friend, Martin LeBlanc. When LeBlanc got there, he saw the giant turtle with the football-sized head. Was he worried?  No, of course not.  His first thought?  Dinner.

Yeah, I bet that critter could have fed the whole neighborhood. (Or fed on the whole neighborhood.)

Again, the turtle was stuck – wedged tight in a culvert. The two called a third friend.   Did the newcomer call animal control?   No way.   “Friend # 3,” Louisiana’s answer to Steve Irwin, jumped right into the culvert. The first two followed. Within 45 minutes, the four-foot long snapping turtle was free. Travis casually commented that the group did take care to “stay clear . . . of the business end” of the turtle because “[o]nce it latches on to you, it’s going to take whatever it bites with it.”

See:  Enormous alligator snapping turtle rescued from drainage culvert

A little puzzled by the men’s attitude toward this giant bone-crushing snapping turtle, I did an internet search on the “alligator snapping turtle.”  I was in for a surprise.

In the 1930’s, a man named Dale Carnegie wrote a book called, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” If Mr. Carnegie were alive today, he would be studying the giant alligator snapping turtle. Why?  Because whatever this turtle is doing, it sure seems to be a hit with everybody.

The first thing I turned up was a set of instructions on how to care for your giant alligator snapping turtle. A little more surprised, I went on searching.  What did I find?  More care and feeding instructions.

Care Sheet – Alligator Snapping Turtle

So, you know what’s happening at your local Humane Society? Rover is waiting in a cage, with a dozen other dogs, hoping to find a home. But the Society has waiting list a mile long for giant alligator snapping turtles.  Sure. That makes sense. We’re talking about a giant snapping turtle with a bone-crushing bite who seems to always be photographed with its beak-like mouth wide open waiting to take your hand or foot off.  Gee, who wouldn’t want to own one?

alligator snaping4

I wish it would close its mouth!

I used to read stories about the loyalty and heroism of dogs, but I didn’t find anything like that. Instead I found the “heart-warming” story of “Crunch” an alligator snapping turtle. (With that bite, you’ve got to wonder how an animal like this got the nickname  “Crunch.”  . . .)   Anyway, Crunch was rescued from certain death in a commercial fishery and, now, not only survives, but enjoys a comfortable retirement at the Blackwater Turtle Refuge.

See:  “Crunch” — Historyvideo: 150 plus year old Alligator Snapping Turtle (“Crunch’)

Speaking of survival, the rescuers of our Louisiana turtle are planning to release it in a spot where it can roam free.   We are assured that the turtle has nothing to fear from rescuer Martin LeBlanc’s turtle soup pot. And you’d need a lot more than pot to cook this four-footer. He’d barely fit in a bathtub.

Enormous alligator snapping turtle rescued from drainage culvert

See also:

Alligator Snapping Turtle – National Zoo FONZ

Alligator Snapping Turtles, Alligator Snapping Turtle Pictures, Alligator Snapping Turtle Facts – National Geographic

Best of the Thursday’s

Bees Seek New Careers – Tired of Sweat-Shop Apiaries and CCD?

Meet the “Air Shark” – Tigerfish Catch Birds in Flight

What is a “Blood Moon”?

Dance Talkin’ — How the Bees Say It

The Moon — Magnet for Controversy and Strife

What’s in a Robot Name? IRNG — Imaginative Robot Name Gap

What Do the Birds Think?

A Different Flavor? How Smart is an Octopus?

Robo-Cheetah & Her Little Sister the Wildcat

The Bumblebee and Robo-Snake on Mars – The Facts

Toy Robot Spiders — As If the Real Thing Weren’t Enough

Finally! A Robot Spider You Can Ride!?



22 thoughts on “Mark Grossmann: The Giant Alligator Snapping Turtle – the Perfect Pet!?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s