Oh, snap! Alligator snapping turtles are capable of biting off a finger.
Responding to calls of "a large turtle" taking a neighborhood stroll in Alexandria, Virginia, last week, Fairfax County Police arrived on the scene to find a 65-pound alligator snapping turtle, a spiny, prehistoric-looking reptile not native to the region.
Recently, our Animal Protection Police received a call about a large turtle in a residential area of Alexandria. Much to their surprise, it was a 65 lb alligator snapping turtle! Learn more at: https://t.co/RtHz4aJ5qP #FCPD pic.twitter.com/qgYFRmUyMS— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) June 15, 2020
Police enlisted the help of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), who sent a biologist to rescue it. The alligator snapping turtle is thought to have been a pet that was released into the wild.
"The alligator snapping turtle is native to river drainages that flow in the Gulf of Mexico, east to Georgia and the panhandle of Florida, and westward to east Texas," VDGIF explained in a social media post. "Although the threat to humans was minimal, this animal would have most likely experienced a slow death as a result of either freezing or starvation."
Alligator snapping turtles, which are capable of biting off fingers, can reach up to 200 pounds. This one, however, weighs only 65 pounds and is thought to be quite young.
Thankfully, the turtle was rehomed at The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, where zookeepers are busy putting together a permanent exhibit and habitat for it. The reptile can never be released into the wild since it was likely bred and raised in captivity.
While initial reports said that the turtle had been named Lord Fairfax, it seems that the Virginia Zoo has since re-named it "Yidaro, Wandering Monster."
What do you think? Have you ever come across one of these monstrous snapping turtles in the wild? Tell us in the comments!