Alligator Snapping Turtle Found In Oregon

    October 22, 2013
    Ellisha Rader Mannering
    Comments are off for this post.

An alligator snapping turtle was found in the Prineville Reservoir, safely removed and humanely euthanized on Friday. Oregon wildlife official say the turtle is the first alligator snapping turtle ever found in the wild in eastern Oregon. How it got there is still a mystery, but wildlife officials say it was likely released into the lake by someone who owned it as a pet and was unable to care for it any longer or not longer wanted it.

“People get these turtles when they are small and release them when they get too big and aggressive to keep as pets,” said Simon Wray, An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife conservation biologist. “It’s a poor choice for a pet and the environment.”

Alligator snapping turtles can weigh over 300 pounds and are very aggressive. They feed on fish, insects, birds and other small animals. When they are introduced to a new environment, they can quickly destroy the ecosystem. Oregon already has a problem with common snapping turtles and wildlife officials do not want alligator snapping turtles to establish themselves in the area and cause more damage.

Although alligator snapping turtles are native to the southeastern United States, there are often sighting of them in the western U.S. as well. They are considered an invasive species in Oregon. The wildlife officials believe that the turtle would not have been able to survive in the reservoir throughout the winter and made the decision to euthanize it. It was first spotted by a fisherman who alerted the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. ODFW officials were able to catch the turtle easily.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

  • http://snapgators bf

    across from willy, and left hersch ave. ruthy

  • kerry woods

    if it wouldn’t have survived the winter, why euthanize it with winter approaching? seems unlikely it would have found another to mate with in time to lay eggs for spring hatch-out. seems like it could have been given to a zoo or educational institution. i used to see(infrequently) alligator snappers when i was growing up in MI. to me, they’re more interesting and less of a threat to humans and ecology than many other species, like alligators, coyotes or feral pigs, which breed easily w/ domestic ones.

    • joseph

      they are endangered in their home southern realm do to over harvest and development of the swamps if they could easily capture it than why not send it south back into the wild where it belonged instead of killing it that was just plain stupid.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/alligator-snapping-turtle-found-in-oregon-2013-10 Eric Brown

      This is a voracious (hungry as hell) species of turtle that can decimate local fish population. eliminating the creature sooner is far better than later even if it couldn’t survive the winter. The damage in the mean time is not worth the damage to local ecology.

      • http://webpronews/live keith easley

        How are you or anyone to know long it was there. It may have been surviving in that lake for some time.

    • JK

      They seem to survive pretty good down in Arkansas in the winter.
      And before you say “yeah but thats down south in mild winter” we have ice snapping power line some winters and the next spring I have seen them come up twice as big as this one with mose growing on thier backs. They are much more resilent than most would have you belive. Also i would like to add to the ones who would have commented that they are less than a theat than coyote to a human.
      A coyote and most other predator will run at the smell or site of a human. These thing comes towards you and can take a limb back to the muddy depths of lake I told you so !

  • rosy

    How cruel! They could have found a way to send it back to its natural habitat. The poor thing didn’t deserve to become a pet and then throw away like trash and then killed “humanly”. It belonged to a place in the wild in southern america and it should have been brought back to that wild. To think that the people in charge of the park can be so insensitive.

    • Aaron Ververs

      It costs money and manpower to transport a sizeable animal, as you suggest; they likely had neither the budget or inclination.

      • LG

        I guaranty there would have been volunteers, fund raising or an organization available to have helped with re-locating this turtle.

      • http://webpronews/live keith easley

        look at all the money that spent to save dogs and cats. If I thought like you, then we should start killing any stray animals that are hanging around.

        • STEVE

          I actually like this idea.

        • bob saget

          go to a local pound for a day and see how many young animals are euthanized, a lot more than you would think

    • erik

      It had forfeited its right to be in the Oregon animal community due to its wanton and recurring violence, and depredations on the peaceful members of said animal community. Therefore it was terminated with extreme prejudice. I believe a raccoon was the one who actually pulled the trigger.

      • marvin green

        Must have been Rocky.

      • Mike

        lmao that was good

  • Cajun_2013

    Could have made some turtle soup if he/she was big enough, dats how we do it down here in the bayou!

    • Zal

      Smash animal slavery. dis is how we do it in the 21st century.

  • marvin green

    Used to play with one of these in the creek behind the houses across the street when I was a kid. It was more tan in color and about a foot and a half long. This was probably in the early 60’s. We lived in Brackridge off Hogan road close to Southside Blvd. in Jacksonville Florida.

    • http://www.lemonparty.com Galloe

      I tried to push on out from in front of my mothers car when I was little. Lived in Mississippi at the time, and at that time I found something out; They have a healthy kick back when you try to push them! Oh and, to this day I still think they look awesome!

    • Sam Man

      Yea right; and I play with rattlesnakes.

    • John

      I doubt that you played with one. How many fingers-toes do you still have?

    • http://turtle ron d

      who cares where u lived

  • lisjgvs

    Really? You moronic Oregonians. Is it really that hard to send it back to its swampy habitat? There was no need to euthanize it. A better option would have been to send it back to its natural habitat. What a bunch of idiots.

    • Matt

      There’s no reason to spend hundreds of dollars, or more, to send a freaking turtle back to the southeast. They don’t want it there, either. Idiot.

      • Zal

        Even turtles have as much rights as idiots, don’t you agree?

      • Cythia Wright

        These killers in Oregon have no common sense. They could have sent it to a zoo or a preserve in Florida. Online contributions could have been gathered. Those actions would have required a bit of thinking and compassion. These turtle-killing turds have none of that.

      • http://webpronews/live keith easley

        It is considered a endangered and protected species in the Midwest and could get you jail time in Missouri for killing one. A turtle like that could help control the Asian carp problem affecting our rivers. they are very rare and seldom seen any more.

  • http://yahoo.com Dennis McPeters

    Couldn’t they just leave it alone and let the killer wasps sting it to death?

  • MM

    …couldn’t they have found a place for it at a local zoo?

  • http://zeolyte.biz Zeolite

    That is one tough looking turtle. Wish he would have been let go in some area that would have safe for him and the area.

  • mark collins

    stupid is as stupid does, how many winters did the turtle survive so far in Oregon? Seems like it was doing pretty good, it was well over one hundred years old ,probably one fifty or more. Where do you think they go when it gets to cold for them, Florida. I think it is called MUD in the bottom of the body of water they are in.

    • William

      Don’t think the turtle in the picture that was posted with the article was the one actually caught……sorry Mark…..

  • jordan

    why didnt they relocate it back to florida why kill it that seems a waste of life

    • Common Sense

      Sure, you want to cough up the $1000 to save a turtle?

      • STEVE

        i would rather spend my $1000 on clothes, food, and a new phone

      • http://yahoo ruth marchetti

        yes i would you moron… kill, kill , kill. always the answer..sad.


          yeah, much better to live in a 2×2 cage for the rest of its life. We have something just like that, i think its called PRISON…


      Glad you know where it came from, southeast doesnt mean florida. f’in turtle whisperers…

  • jordan

    everyone on this site go blow ur brains out except for the people for the turtle

    • Rob


  • Kirk

    They could have called the “turtle man” for some live action!
    He could have filmed it for his television program. JK

    Actually I have ran across a few of these in the wild in my day.
    They really are prehistoric looking creatures.

    Perhaps the zoo was the best idea. Don’t think it likely I am going to blow my brains out over a turtle.

  • Dennis

    What kind of inhumane nonsense is this? STOP KILLING WILDLIFE YOU MORONS. Ever hear of a zoo or a safe-transfer? Give me a break. LAME.

    • erik

      Dennis that vein on your forehead is bulging again. Wow, that sucker is nasty !

  • bob minerich

    yes this story reminds me of my neighbor debbie roth on oak glen road in Yucaipa thanks to her good deeds my house was robbed and i lost every thing thanks to her

  • Pablo Cervantes

    Choot ‘im, Clint!

  • toker

    i dont understand why they had to kill it? they couldn’t give it to a zoo, or dont they have zoos in Oregon? Was this turtle a menace to society? was it attacking people? i think we should euthanize the ppl that did this to the defenseless turtle. what a bunch of a$$es

    • http://yahoo BC

      Most of you tree huggers who wonder why the animal was euthanized are probably for abortion though.

  • Mark

    Alligator Snapping Turtles are endangered in alot of its teritory and is protected under law. So why was this one killed instead of being moved? It was probably under 10 years old if it could be handled.

    • Jason

      Dude since when are they protected?

      • Jason

        And they are not endangered!

        • Joe

          They are officially classified as Vulnerable on the Conservation scale witch is just above Endangered but they’re still considered to be “Threatened”


    Reminds me of the days I spent down at the creek shooting alligator snapping turtles and snakes. I would stand there for hours looking for them.

    • Marc

      A*****e. Go shoot yourself.

  • Rose

    we had them in the lake we lived on in Michigan, they are very cool to see.It’s a shame to kill something so unusual. Could of found a home for it in a zoo, let all the kids see it.And teach them to respect wildlife.What a shame!

    • ddd

      could have not could of

  • kb


  • Gabriel

    I don’t understand why would you kill the animal? Put it in a zoo, a nature reserve, something like that instead of killing him.

    • joe

      I understand your feelings but and it is impossible to put every animal some fool turns lose in a zoo. just like cats and dogs the responsibility rest with the fool who got it as a pet. we flat cant afford to feed every beast that it turned lose on the environment. I am sure they killed it easy. joe

    • John

      This turtle is mean. I had to remove one from my yard once. Normally you can pick up a turtle and place it out of harms way however if you approach an alligator snapping turtle it will attack you. I watched one snap a broom handle with it’s mouth. Put one in a zoo and a child gets too near and you will have a disaster. They are highly territorial and return to favorite nesting places. That is why they killed it. I see them often is SC.

  • ZK

    I work with some cajuns that would have drove up there from LA. to get it. The only difference in the fate of the turtle would have been that the meat wouldn’t have been wasted. They would have cooked turtle stew, & turtle sauce piquante. Those guys know how to cook.

  • Nate

    guys, there is no picture of the actual turtle taken. you can’t know how old it is unless you count the rings, or how long it has been released. hopefully it was big enough to eat. I eat common snappers all the time and they are delicious.

    • Ryan Butler

      real tough guy eating turtles

  • Daryl

    So you decide to do “the right thing” and kill the poor thing. Why didn’t you just tie him up, put him in a boat and haul him somewhere where he couldn’t hurt somebody or somebody couldn’t hurt him like you bunch of morons.

  • Shelby

    Turtle Soup Tonight!

    • Ryan Butler

      real funny. get a life loser

  • Ryan Butler

    What gives them the right to kill this. We find a landmark creature and put it down. I am so sick of us humans thinking we can kill this world and everything in it

  • mary ellen

    As someone else wrote euthanizing this turtle was plain stupid — there are all kinds of refuges available in this country that take turtles, even alligator snapping turtles. But, isn’t oregon the state that has legalized euthanasia for humans as well?

  • flipper

    The funny (not that funny) thing about the modern world is that every single person on Earth has instant access to this story. At least all of those with access to a computer.
    Not so many years ago, sometime in the early to mid 1990s perhaps? this story would have been carried in the Oregonian maybe and 20 seconds on morning AM radio. Only Portlanders and locals near Prineville would have heard about this turtle and its fate…OK, maybe those big city slickers up there in Seattle too.

    Fast forward to 2013 with instant news from around the globe at our fingertips and you all are ready to meet in the street with guns drawn like a scene out of a Sam Peckinpah film, to exact vengeance on those that would either save or kill a turtle. Holy crap the world HAS gone insane, just freakin insane, there is no other word to describe this situation.
    Later today, somewhere far away from me, from you, a rose bush will get uprooted by a tractor or a shovel which will be presented as “news” on the net and suddenly people will chime in and choose sides, ready to rip to pieces the person responsible for this outrage. I clearly remember all of the “educated experts” reassuring us simpletons that the World Wide Web was going to make the world a better place through human interaction and understanding….hah, hah, hah!

    As usual, the experts were wrong once again..as they often seem to be.

    When all of you agree to meet and tear each other from limb to limb, please film it so we can leave it for future generations to learn from, as an example of mankinds’ heightened compassion and understanding in this oh so enlightened modern world we enjoy.