Alligator snappers let their food come to them. A turtle sits with jaws agape, flexing a secret weapon: a wriggling pink filament on the tongue that looks like a juicy worm. When a fish, frog, aquatic bird, rodent, or smaller turtle is lured in, an alligator snapper's baited trap snaps shut with enough force to lift the turtle off the bottom of its habitat. Shedd's alligator snapper has learned to come to a feeding station—just like the whales and dolphins do. He can also crawl onto a scale to be weighed, taking part in his own wellness care.
Protected in Illinois
Alligator snapping turtles have been hunted for meat to the point that they are scarce or gone in much of their historic range in the southeastern United States. Destruction of their wetland habitats has made it even harder for these slow-moving, prehistoric-looking animals to survive. The species is now protected in many states, including Illinois, the northernmost tip of its range.
Turtles in Our Midst
At the flash of silver scales, a snapping turtle explodes from perfect stillness into sudden motion, clamping onto its prey and finishing the fish ...
Decades Later, Scientist Reunites with Sea Turtle He Saved
Scientist Matt Finn rescued injured sea turtle in 1998...and didn't see her again for nearly 20 years afterward, until a heartfelt reunion at Shedd.
Michelle Sattler and Sea Turtle Nickel
Michelle’s relationship with Nickel goes back even before the turtle arrived at Shedd in April 2003.