Al­li­ga­tor snap­ping tur­tle in spot­ted in Illi­nois

The Garden Island - - Morning Briefing -

A sci­en­tist search­ing for a young male al­li­ga­tor snap­ping tur­tle that was put in a South­ern Illi­nois creek at least a year ago in­stead grabbed a 22-pound adult fe­male, rais­ing hopes for those try­ing to pro­tect a crea­ture that hadn’t been spot­ted in the area for three decades.

Illi­nois Nat­u­ral His­tory Sur­vey her­petol­o­gist Chris Phillips called his find­ing of the tur­tle, at least 18 years old, a “move in the right di­rec­tion” in the ef­fort to save the state-en­dan­gered species.

The dis­cov­ery was chron­i­cled in an ar­ti­cle in this month’s South­east­ern Nat­u­ral­ist co-au­thored by Ethan Kessler, a grad­u­ate stu­dent of nat­u­ral re­sources and en­vi­ron­men­tal sciences at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois.

“It gives us hope that re­pro­duc­tion is hap­pen­ing,” Kessler said.

Still, both Kessler and Phillips aren’t quite sure what ex­actly the find says about these se­cre­tive crea­tures that have been around for mil­lions of years. This par­tic­u­lar tur­tle that was liv­ing in Union County’s Clear Creek, where sci­en­tists have been re­leas­ing tur­tles in Union County’s Clear Creek be­cause no wild al­li­ga­tor tur­tles had been found in Illi­nois since 1984.

“Maybe there is a hid­den pop­u­la­tion we

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