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A man in Mississippi got quite the surprise back in June 2020 when he stumbled upon a huge animal in the middle of the road.
Rick Connor was driving to his parents’ house in Caledonia, Mississippi when he saw an alligator snapping turtle in the street.
“I was going to my parents’ house Saturday morning,” Conner said, according to NWF Daily News. “He was just walking down the road like a ninja turtle. That was the biggest turtle I’ve ever seen except in a zoo.”
Alligator snapping turtles are known for their extremely powerful jaws, their beaks, and their carnivorous diets.
Instead of just leaving it there for someone else to find, Connor decided to catch it himself.
“It made me nervous,” Conner said. “His mouth, I could put my whole bicep in it it was so big. I figured if I could get behind it and I could catch it.”
It all happened so fast, but the turtle weighed 70 pounds, so it wasn’t an easy feat!
“I just went fast so he didn’t have time to hit me,” Conner said. “My adrenalin was pumping when I first picked it up. I picked him up and threw him in the truck. You pick up a 70-pound turtle, that’s a lot.”
At the time, he didn’t realize how big it was, though. Connor took the animal home, where he measured it. The alligator snapping turtle was 21 inches from the top of his shell to the back of his shell and the head was seven inches across.
“You could have easily put a softball in his mouth. I tried to measure his tail, but I couldn’t pull it out. You’d be surprised how strong the tail is.”
In this area, it’s pretty rare to see an alligator snapping turtle of this size, according to Luke Pearson, a University of Southern Mississippi graduate student who has collected data on this type of turtle for over three years.
He usually sees these types of turtles in this area weigh around 35-50 pounds. Pearson said, “Anything over 70 pounds is rare for me to catch. They just don’t seem to be abundant.”
After collecting his data, Conner let the alligator snapping turtle go.
Check out the photos below of a 65-pound alligator snapping turtle that was found in Fairfax, Virginia earlier this year.