Alligator Turtle - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-27-2007, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Alligator Turtle

Does anyone know anything about a alligator snapping turtle? I have looked at several websites and all of them have said it was safe to keep red ear sliders and them together. I also called the local zoo and they said as long as there wasnt a huge size difference it would be fine. I just wondered what all yall thought about it. And any other information would be great to. Thanks

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-27-2007, 12:56 AM
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I know a local keeper of alligator snappers, and I get to be around them quite a bit.

Generally, it is fine to keep them with RES as long as there is ample space available in the enclosure. That usually means that one must have a pond in order to properly care for these creatures.

They can reach huges sizes - the average is 26 inches! And they usually never lose their bad attitudes and their tendency to bite readily. They are very different from RES in their care.

That is not to say that they are hard to take care of perse, but as previously mentioned, they do reach huge sizes and require appropriately huge space. As much as I would love to have one myself, I simply can't handle a 250 pound monster. They definitely start out very cute as hatchlings, but that all changes. Magnificent creatures.

Good luck in your research and decision, but please, please be careful.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-28-2007, 03:03 AM
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Arent they endangered species?

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-28-2007, 06:38 AM
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The problem, it that if you do a good job of taking care of it, there WILL be a huge size difference. They get enormous.

In general, i have a problem with people getting any animal that is pretty much guaranteed to outgrow it's accomodations. Pythons, Sulcatas, or Alligator Snapping Turtles. Unless you are the "one percenter" that has virtually unlimited money and resources, it's unethical for you to get an animal that will outgrow you. What will you do with it once it's 100 lbs +??

You're only 19, do you know what your living plans are for the next 100yrs that this animal will be alive?

Sorry to be so critical, but you need to deal with these long term questions just as you deal with the short term ones.

bob



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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-28-2007, 11:41 AM
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I have to second Bob's remarks. Alligator snappers are a very long lived, and if cared for properly will get huge. Not planning for the long term care of the animal is simply irresponsible. A properly cared for, and properly housed alligator snapper isn't just a pet, it's a potential heirloom. Sure babies are cute, but not planning is what ends up with so many reptiles abandoned to shelters, or simply dying from neglect. Alligator snappers are simply not a pet for just anyone who wants a "cool" turtle.

That being said, the general rule with most animals, is to not mix species. Differing care needs, diets, and health concerns make it just not a good idea. Then, if you have multiple animals in an enclosure, and one gets sick, you're pretty much guaranteed to get its cage mate sick. Differing species can have different susceptibility to diseases. Yes, zoos often do it all the time, but they also have a dedicated staff of keepers and veterinarians to actively monitor all animals, and often have large (well, at least larger than almost any private keeper's), naturalistic habitats which often is enough to keep animal interaction to only incidental encounters.

Other turtles are most certainly on the diet of large snappers, they are generalists and will eat pretty much anything they can catch. They aren't likely to try and eat anything that doesn't fit in their mouth, but their jaws are incredibly strong and a bite can do some serious damage even if they aren't actively trying to eat another turtle. If you've ever seen a snapper rip apart a fish with a single massive chomp, it's pretty amazing. They actually have a pretty calm disposition for the most part, and are not typically prone to biting unless harassed. They have a rather undeserved reputation for being big and mean.

The alligator snapping turtle is listed as a "threatened species" and is protected from collection through much of it's native range, though it's frequently farm bred for the pet trade. The only federal law covering them is CITES, which restricts their export from the US. State laws would be the main restricting factor in keeping them, but one should also look at their city bylaws. Many cities have restrictions on keeping species which can be considered dangerous. Of course, they leave the determination of exactly what is dangerous up to the local animal control, so you should call their office to make sure snapping turtles aren't on their list. Just because they're sold in the city doesn't mean they're legal to keep as pets either.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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To answer Mygala. I know am only 19. I already know the living arrangements for the rest of my life though. I own a small farm and have a creek and a fenced in pond ( for my RES). The only reason I was asking about the turtle was a little girl had her mom buy her one as a pet and they left him/her on my doorstep. I wanted to know what I should do with it. The reason for asking the questions was I called the local animal control and they said if I turned it over to them most likely it would end up put to sleep. Well I wasn't going to let that happen. The turtle did nothing at all wrong. And I called the Zoo who said that had more then they could handle and told me how I should go about caring for it and sent me a packet in the mail. Now needless to say I'm not educated on their care, I'm hopping to learn, so I will be able to properly care for him/her. I have done a ton of research and most of the pets I do have, have came to me the same way no one else wants them. It's not their fault they have a bad life and I'm trying to make a better one for them. I'm not saying I'm rich but I do have a nice paying job and all my money goes to my animals. I won't lie my mom and dad pay all my bills. But they also support my descion to try to help these animals. Alligator snapping Turtles aren't around here in the wild. So I didn't think it was a good idea to turn it loose. Do any of you all think I should? Any help about what I should do with it would be wonderful. I've been caring for it for the past two weeks and it seems to be doing fine. I have a kids swimming pool and an area for them inside of the house but during the day I take them out to play in the pond. Is that a good idea or should I not do that? Any help would be appreciated.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 01:37 PM
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Any animal kept in captivity without strict rehabilitation procedures (such as: minimal human contact, no contact with other animals to potentially spread pathogens, etc) should not be released back to the wild. An animal most definitely should not be released into an area they don't natively inhabit. It would likely just be a death sentence.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Well Thats what I was thinking but another person I talked to suggested it so I wanted to ask yall.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 06:54 PM
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Keeping an Alligator Snapping Turtle is no small endeavor. As they grow, the food requirements and the mess produced gets to be impressive. I think it's admirable for you to want to take care of this animal, but it's going to be a significant long term project if you take it on.

Rav is right, there are many pathogens, like cryptospiridium or Runny Nose Syndrome for instance, that can be taken back to the wild when captive animals are released. Turtles and tortoises seem especially vulnerable to these maladies, so you should never release long term captives back into the wild. Especially if they aren't native species.

If I were in your shoes, I'm sure I'd have taken in the turtle, ..same as you. However, I'd keep trying to place him/her in an institution of some sort. You might try some of the state fish & wildlife programs in states where the turtle is native. Lots of these organizations have educational animals. There are also state parks and wildlife areas that have non-releasable animals on display. ...that's just a few places you might try.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Well I have decided to keep him while I look into other options. I have to start looking outside of where I live because we only have a small humane society and a small zoo and animal control. Which all of them have been pretty unsuccessful. The zoo did give some good information and send me some packets but other than that nothing... So hopefully everything will work out.. Thanks for everyone's help.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 05:46 AM
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You might also ask to talk to the zoo's curator of reptiles. If you explain your situation, he/she might know of a place that would be interested. I know at our zoo, we get calls almost daily from people wanting to get rid of big snakes, lizards, turtles, goats, etc.

Most of the time they are just lazy owners, or people who didn't think before they bought the animals. It's not something we are equipped to deal with, nor is there much sympathy for the people who got into the situation. We just see it so often, it gets extremely frustrating.

However, if you explain you are dealing with a rescue, they might be a bit more sympathetic to your situation. Just a thought.....

bob



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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 06:02 AM
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 11:52 AM
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Sadly, there are many people who buy these animals with the intention of offering it to a zoo when they can no longer keep it, without even thinking that zoos -rarely- will take animals from the public. Most accredited zoos are not even permitted to do so, because they need to have extensive records of where all the animals they have came from and their blood lines, and so forth. Nor do they want to deal with rescue situations, where it may potentially bring illnesses into the zoo. Even though any good zoo has an excellent quarantine procedure, the potential for incidental exposure to disease is typically not worth the risk of taking any animal that they don't have a full history on. Not to mention, animals like Burmese pythons, both species of snapping turtles, sulcata tortoises, most caiman species, and alligators, etc, are not exactly hard to come by in captivity, and most zoos that want them for display already have them or have easy access to them without resorting to the aforementioned risks and effort.

For those who don't really know what we're talking about, they start off as those little teeny 2 inch across dinosaur looking turtles you see at so many pet stores, and then turn into monster turtles. This is me moving one back into it's pond after doing an educational expo for Texas Parks & Wildlife.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks I'll try that...Most everyone I talked to was a bit rude about it. But I didnt "buy" the turtle he/she was left on my front porch with a letter. So I mean I'm trying to give it a good life until I find someone to take him. I called a few out of town places and they were all the same way. But I'll keep trying.

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