Massive 'alligator snapping turtle' found in Fairfax Co., relocated to Virginia Zoo

Posted at 12:46 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 15:02:28-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The Virginia Zoo just acquired a 65-pound alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii).

The turtle was given the name “Lord Fairfax.” This particular turtle is a child, as the adult Alligator snapping turtle can grow to be as big as 200 pounds, The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said.

The Alligator snapping turtles were given this name based on their rough exterior and strong jaws (powerful enough to bite a finger off cleanly) according to

The Alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater species of turtle in North America. They are also carnivores and scavengers.

Lord Fairfax was found near a residential pond and while they do not serve much of a threat to people, he would have died prematurely of starvation or “cold stunning” (a form of hypothermia), according to the The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Bred in captivity, it would be hard for Lord Fairfax to fight or last long on its own in the wild. This turtle will have to remain in captivity for the remainder of its life.

Officials said the "common" snapping turtle native to Virginia is the Chelydra Serpentina while the alligator snapping turtle is native to the Gulf of Mexico regions near Florida and Texas.