Snapping Turtle Project

Snapping Turtle Project

Author: Orianne Society
Published: November 19, 2021

Check out this overview on the Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle project from Orianne Society. There were exciting developments made and plenty of progress to be seen!

“I wrote last year about our work surveying for Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtles (Machrochelys suwanniensis) in Georgia as part of a range-wide assessment of the species’ distribution and status. Since that time, there have been several exciting developments in our work with alligator snapping turtles. We have continued to opportunistically conduct trapping surveys in locations with few or no records and have been on the lookout for verifiable reports of Msuwanniensis in Georgia. Several publications highlighting our work along with the work of colleagues are also in progress. It is undoubtedly an exciting time to be working with these charismatic turtles.

The results from several years of surveys in both Georgia and Florida and a compilation of historic records will be published in the upcoming issue of Chelonian Conservation and Biology (Enge et al. 2021). In total, this work compiles 167 records of Msuwanniensis from museum collections, the published literature, and credible observations and combines these observations with the results of 1,893 total trap nights conducted by ourselves and colleagues to assess the distribution and status of Msuwanniensis. Overall, Msuwanniensis appears widely distributed in the Suwannee River watershed but generally occurs at a lower abundance in Georgia. This includes a complete lack of captures from the mainstem of the upper Suwannee River, despite significant trapping effort in this stretch of river. However, sections of the Alapaha, Withlacoochee, and Little Rivers all have vouchered specimens as well as many of their tributaries. This work lays the foundation for future research efforts to fill in distributional gaps and to focus on other aspects of Msuwanniensis ecology and population biology.”


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