Fish Hatchery rears snapping turtles to help grow population

These Alligator Snapping Turtles are the largest and the smallest juveniles on site at the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery. The largest was born in 2018 and the smallest is from the 2020 year class. This is a great example of the importance of hatcheries involvement in production and head start programs for species of special concern and Threatened/Endangers species. The 2020 turtles would have many more predators such as egret, heron, large fish, other turtles, alligators etc. The 2018 turtle may have predators of larger alligators giving it a much better chance of survival as an adult.

Photo: Two juvenile alligator snapping turtles (with a pen for size reference) 2 years apart in age. The smallest turtle weighing in at about 11 grams and the largest one weighing 1,920 grams. USFWS

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