Alligator snapping turtle in spotted in Illinois
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