A herpetologist named Chris Philips went to search for a young male alligator snapping turtle. The alligator snapping turtle was put in the southern Illinois Creek last year. But he had ended up finding a 22 pound adult female which was 18 years old. It gave scientists hope to protect the alligator snapping turtle. In Union County’s Clear Creek scientists have been releasing these turtles to repopulate them. Ethan Kessler thinks there may be more alligator snapping turtles that they don’t know about. But he added that the female turtle could be one of the last survivors from a big group of turtles. The turtle could also be a traveler and had somehow ended up in the Mississippi River. Philips had found another turtle on the same day, he grabbed the female on the lake thinking it was a male. The male had been wearing a transmitter when the scientists released it in the same creek a year ago. The water was dark so he didn’t know that he was reaching down for the female instead of the male. The male turtle was close by and was pulled out in the same spot as the female. Scientists hope to repopulate these alligator snapping turtles.

Photo by Jonathan Mays