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Oh shell! 65-pound alligator snapping turtle captured in Fairfax County

fairfax alligator snapping turtle.jpg

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the alligator snapping turtle is native to river drainages that flow in the Gulf of Mexico, east to Georgia and the panhandle of Florida, and westward to east Texas.{ } { }(Photo:{ }Meghan Marchetti/DGIF)

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WJLA) — Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries reflected on the moment it says its staff captured one "shell" of an animal.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, animal protection was called to respond to a large turtle in a residential area of Alexandria.

That's when they say they came across, to their surprise, a 65-pound alligator snapping turtle.

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the alligator snapping turtle is native to river drainages that flow in the Gulf of Mexico, east to Georgia and the panhandle of Florida, and westward to east Texas. While the turtle found by animal control was 65 pounds, it was considered to be a "youngster" and can exceed up to 200 pounds when fully grown.

The snapping turtle species, or the "common" snapping turtle native to Virginia is the Chelydra serpentina, but only reaches a maximum of 50 pounds.

The department also reiterated the importance of not keeping turtles as pets until you do your homework and can properly care for it, writing that:

Although the threat to humans was minimal, this animal would have most likely experienced a slow death as a result of either freezing or starvation. If you are considering a turtle as a pet, please do your homework first and find out what it takes to provide adequate care for a lifelong commitment. Many species of turtle can live a minimum of 50 years and others more than 100.

Thankfully, Lord Fairfax, as the turtle has been affectionately named, has been relocated to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, where the department says it could become part of a new exhibit. Unfortunately, since Lord Fairfax was likely captive-bred, it can't be released into the wild, the department added.


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