This turtle was displaced by hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, USA (Buffalo Bayou and Dunlavy). It appears to be a snapper. Can someone identify the exact species?



That's an Alligator snapping turtle, Macrochelys temminckii.

Here is another picture of it (from the same Wikipedia page linked above):

enter image description here

It should not be mistaken for the Common snapping turtle, which belongs to a different Genus.

There is a problem, though: in 2014 Thomas et al. divided the Genus Macrochelys (which originally contained only one species, Macrochelys temminckii) in three species: Macrochelys temminckii itself, Macrochelys suwanniensis and Macrochelys apalachicolae.

Therefore, narrowing this down to the exact species (according to the current taxonomy of the Genus) may be way more complicated.


  • Thomas, T, Granatosky, M, Bourque, J, Krysko, K, Moler, P, Gamble, T, Suarez, Leone, E, Enge, K, & Roman, J, 2014. Taxonomic assessment of Alligator Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae: Macrochelys), with the description of two new species from the southeastern United States. Zootaxa 3786 (2): 141–165
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    $\begingroup$ Above answer is correct but the other two recently differentiated species are both East of Texas, so this is for sure temminckii. $\endgroup$ – Michael Garfield Feb 3 '19 at 7:05

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