The first alligator snapping turtle ever found in the wild in eastern Oregon was removed from Prineville Reservoir last week, according to Oregon fish and wildlife officers.
The aggressive turtle reportedly primarily eats native fish, but it is also known to catch other animals, such as small ducklings. It is native to southeast United States, and is considered invasive in Oregon. They have also been known to have caused injuries to humans with their strong bites.
According to Fox 12 in Oregon, Simon Wray, an ODFW conservation biologist, believes someone probably kept the turtle as a pet before releasing it into the reservoir.
He said, "People get these turtles when they are small and release them when they get too big and aggressive to keep as pets. It's a poor choice for a pet and the environment."
Authorities were notified of the alligator snapping turtle by local a local fisherman. The ODFW sent biologists to capture it the following day.
Alligator snapping turtles are the largest of all freshwater turtles in North America and can grow as large as 250 pounds in weight.
Rick Boatner, who is an ODFW invasive species coordinator has said, "I'd hate to see these turtles get established in Oregon," according to Fox 12.