Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-14-2023


Macrochelys (alligator snapping turtles), the largest freshwater turtles in North America, were recently proposed for threatened status under the US Endangered Species Act. Many previous surveys have focused on catching these large turtles in large river systems, but few surveys have focused on targeting hatchlings and juveniles, particularly in smaller rivers and creeks. I trapped extensively within the Pascagoula River drainage using small, baited crayfish traps, and a considerable focus of the study was in small rivers and streams. Juvenile Macrochelys temminckii (Alligator Snapping Turtle; 42.2–192 mm) were detected in small streams and large rivers (30.4 km2–22,000 km2), and the small traps were effective at capturing young alligator snapping turtles. Smaller streams are logistically harder to trap from a boat, but small streams should not be overlooked when sampling for this species, as these streams may have served as refugia during commercial harvest over the past century.

Publication/Presentation Information

Biology and Conservation of Alligator Snapping Turtles (Macrochelys)

Southeastern Naturalist 2023 22(Special Issue 12):126–137



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