Alligator snapping turtle saved from sewer

Alligator snapping turtle saved from sewer

Illustration from Holbrook's North American Herpetology, 1842

It’s not everyday one comes across a giant alligator snapping turtle. In fact, Travis Lewis of Baton Rouge could hardly believe his eyes when he first spotted one outside his home, at first mistaking it for a log. However, upon second look he realized that it was actually an animal in distress, wedged tight in a sewer drain, and called for his friend Martin LeBlanc and a few others to come help his rescue the large reptile, with the “head the size of a footballs,” and fierce jaws to match.

“He was wedged in real tight," LeBlanc told WAFB 9 News, adding that it too the group about 45 minutes to work it free after one of them actually climbed down into the culvert to pullit out, while being sure to avoid it gaping mouth.

"We all knew that if it latches on to you, it's not going to let go. It's almost like an alligator. Once it latches on to you, it's going to take whatever it bites with it," remarked Lewis.

Alligator snapping turtles are found mostly in fresh-water throughout the southeastern United States, ranging from the Florida panhandle west to East Texas, and as far north as southeastern part of Kansas, Missouri, and southeastern Iowa, western Illinois, southern Indiana, as well as western portions of Tennessee and Kentucky. They generally grow to be between 150-176 lbs (though some have exceeded 200 lbs) and come in solid shades of brown, black, grey and olive green, with yellow patterns and dark “lashes” surrounding their eyes. They also tend to look rather “prehistoric” with their large, heavy heads, and three dorsal ridges of large scales and three distinctive rows of raised plates and spikes on long shells

Mostly carnivorous the turtles like to dine on fish, mollusks, amphibians, snakes, crayfish, worms, water birds, and other turtles.They have also been known to eat carrion including fish carcasses left by fisherman, as well as some aquatic plants