After taking a dip in Sand Lake in northwestern Wisconsin, a beachgoer stumbled upon a mammoth of a snapping turtle along the shore. Even though the turtle had already died, the discovery was still worthy of appreciation as its body couldn’t even fit across the back of an ATV.
Naturally, the folks that found this behemoth of a reptile had to snap a few photos and share the experience with fellow beachgoers. After finding the snapping turtle, Jackie Anderson and her group placed it on a piece of cardboard and laid it on their recreational vehicle to truly admire its size.
“Look what we found washed up on our beach. Happy I didn’t meet up with it when I was swimming!” Anderson wrote in her post.
Following her initial post, the Wisconsin beachgoer clarified that she nor her group members had a hand in the snapping turtle’s death.
“It’s important that everyone know we did not harm this turtle,” she wrote in an update. “It was found washed up on our beach, obviously dead, with a decaying stench.”
It’s unclear if she contacted Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regarding the reptile’s location and condition.
Aquatic Creature May Be a Common or an Alligator Snapping Turtle
While the reptile possesses the typical spiked tail of an alligator snapping turtle, it doesn’t have the matching shell. Instead, this creature has the smooth shell of a common snapping turtle. Additionally, alligator snapping turtles can grow to a whopping 250 pounds, while the common species typically reaches only 45 pounds. Because of the stark differences in the turtle’s features, some folks in the comments of the post debated which subspecies this specimen belonged to, but until a biologist or zoologists chimes in, we can’t be too sure.
Wisconsin is actually home to 11 different types of turtles. According to the state’s DNR, “Most turtles breed in the spring after they emerge from hibernation or during August.”
It’s possible that this reptile had just completed another mating season or had even laid a nest of eggs before meeting its demise. Lucky for these beachgoers, though, they didn’t share the waters with this huge turtle while it was alive. Otherwise, they might have had a scar to remember the experience.
“Its long neck, powerful jaws and aggressive behavior have rightly earned the snapping turtle its name,” the DNR informed.
Still, despite its provocative nature, snapping turtles are a crucial part of Wisconsin’s aquatic ecosystems. They consume nearly every animal they can catch between their mighty jaws, putting them at the top of the food chain. And with the size of this turtle, it was certainly the ruler of the lake.