Alligator Snapping Turtle - Macrochelys temminckii

Alligator Snapping Turtle

*The colored areas of the map above represent parishes with currently known records for the given species
 (Source: Jeff Boundy, LA Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries). By no means does it represent the full range of the species in the state, nor does it necessarily mean that a species can be found throughout the parish with the record. This is provided as a guide to where you might be able to find these species in the state and to aid in identification. A descriptive explanation of the range of each species can be found in the text below.

Other Common Names:  Loggerhead

Subspecies: No subspecies recognized.


Similar Species: 

Species Range: 

Louisiana Range:  Statewide, but records lacking from many parishes.


Natural History: 

Best Time and Place to Observe:

Global Conservation Status:  Alligator Snapping Turtles are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. Their NatureServe Global Conservation Status Rank is G3G4 (Vulnerable to Apparently Secure).

Federal Conservation Status:  The Alligator Snapping Turtle is Under Review for federal protection.

Louisiana Conservation Status:  Alligator Snapping Turtles have a ranking of S3 (rare and local throughout the state – 21-100 known extant populations) in Louisiana. They are also a ‘restricted harvest’ species in Louisiana, where, with a proper license, recreational fisherman can take no more than one Alligator Snapping Turtle per day, per person, per vehicle/vessel. There is no size limit on the allowed take. Commercial harvest of Alligator Snapping Turtles is prohibited.

Author's Remarks:  Prior to 2018 I had only observed a single wild individual of this species in near Manchac, Louisiana, in the early 2000s. In 2018 I helped a colleague to capture five in MS to learn on the job before starting on our own project in southwest Louisiana where we have caught several in Beauregard Parish. In 2019 we captured several more in a few locations in south-central Louisiana. In 2020 we began a capture-mark-recapture study on the species.

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