Alligator Snapping Turtle vs Common Snapping Turtle!
Often confused for one another the prehistoric looking Alligator Snapping Turtle and the more widespread Common Snapping Turtle are two very distinct species.
Yes it is true that they both share similarities in appearance but everything from their temperament to the way they hunt are completely different. In this video adventurer and animal expert Coyote Peterson will compare the two side by side to show you each ones unique features so you will better understand their individual traits and be able to properly identify them if you see one in the wild!
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– I'm Coyote Peterson, and today, we're gonna show you the difference between the common snapping turtle, and the alligator snapping turtle. (drums) – I often times question whether or not there is a predator in the wetland ecosystem that is more perfectly designed than the snapping turtle.
Try to imagine yourself as a fish out for a morning swim. And around each and every lily pad you turn, there may be a set of bone crushing jaws waiting to meet you. Snapping turtles rule their food chain and the wetlands of America are their kingdom. There are two very distinct types of snapping turtles. They have multiple species within their respective genera. To keep it simple, we will talk generically.
About the common snapping turtle, which grows to an average weight of 30 pounds and is native to nearly the entire eastern half of the United States, parts of Mexico and Central America. Then there's the larger alligator snapping turtle, which averages close to 70 pounds. A threatened species, whose range has been reduced to the southeastern United States.
These reptiles are truly ancient. And today we are lucky enough to have both of these species on hand, so we can give you an up close look at their distinct differences. – This is Adam Remedies, the true turtle man of Louisiana. And what we have for you guys here, are our two distinct dragons. Now as you guys know, I'm from Ohio.
I'm used to catching this guy right here, the common snapping turtle Or as I refer to it, the mud dragon. Now what Adam's used to working with is this guy right here. What they're referred to as Loggerheads, the alligator snapping turtle. So, you said this is about the average size of the common snapping turtles that you guys get down here right?.
– Yeah that's about average size. – Now for me, this is a small common snapping turtle. Now I know a lot of you have seen our other videos on snapping turtles and you've thought, “Gosh these alligator snapping turtles seem really, really calm.” Now as soon as you get an alligator snapping turtle out of the water, handle it gently, put it on your knee,.
they really do calm down. Is that what you experienced Adam? Almost all of them, after they've been captured, figure okay, the more I struggle, the more energy I'm going to waste. Now the common snapping turtle is a much more aggressive species than the alligator snapping turtle. Let me see if I can get him to strike here.
Phew, yeah you see how fast that head shoots out and mouth? Now the alligator snapping turtle, I'm gonna keep you away from my nose, doesn't ever really strike his head out, see that? He'll open his mouth up wider, and say, “Go ahead get your hand close to those scissor like jaws.” But he's not, he's not even gonna actually strike. See that? I can get my hand all the way in front of his face.
Now I don't recommend you ever try that at home, with either of these turtle species, but the point I'm trying to prove is that the common snapping turtle is much more aggressive than the alligator snapping turtle. Now the one major difference between all snapping turtles that makes them separate from other turtle species is that they cannot tuck their extremities into their shell. You see how small the plastron is on both the common.
and the alligator snapping turtle. You have all of this exposed muscle, and that's why they've developed these incredible defensive techniques. And you see both turtles have their mouths open right now. Both of them ready to bite if we get our fingers too close. But look at the bite spread on that alligator snapping turtle as compared to the common snapping turtle.
Huge difference there. Now alligator snapping turtles hunt by laying on the bottom of slow moving creeks and rivers with that little worm like appendage. You see that right there? The base of his mouth looks just like a worm. Now that's how these turtles hunt, because they're ambush predators. Common snapping turtles are nomadic predators,.
Which means that they're gonna move about in a body of water looking for their prey, actually hunting it down before they catch it, kill it, and consume it. Now the carapace is the top of the shell, and you can see that the common snapping turtle has a much smoother appearance as compared to the spiky appearance of the alligator snapping turtle. Common snapping turtles typically.
inhabit ponds like you see behind us, and alligator snapping turtles are usually found in slow moving creeks and rivers. Now the common snapping turtles have these large, pointy, osteoderms on their tails. Now an osteoderm is just a piece of bone covered in scale and you see it really looks like the spikes on the tail of a dragon. You see the osteoderms on the alligator snapping turtle.
are a lot smaller. And as these turtles grow and their tails get bigger, the osteoderms actually get smaller, which is the opposite with common snapping turtles. As the common snapping turtle continues to grow, it's tail gets fatter and the osteoderms become more pronounced. Now if you look at the nose of the common snapping turtle, it's short and blunt.
The nose of the alligator snapping turtle is much longer. And these turtles, all they need to do is stick their heads up out of the water, body stays completely submerged, they can use those little eyes as periscopes looking around, get a breath of air and then disappear back down into the murky abyss. Wow this was pretty cool, I hope you guys enjoyed this. Getting the chance to see a common snapping turtle.
Compared to an alligator snapping turtle. Adam, thanks for getting us up close with these turtles. We're gonna put them back into the wild, and then we're gonna go look for some monsters aren't we? – Yeah. – Alright, tonight we're headin' out into the creeks to look for dragons. Snapping turtles have been on the planet since the late cretaceous period.
Dating back nearly 70 million years in the fossil record. Despite whether or not you think they are the perfect aquatic predator, I think that we can all agree that these enormous turtles are about as prehistoric as it gets. (creepy music)
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