ONE of the world’s most dangerous turtle species has been re-homed at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire Oaks after being abandoned by its owners.
The alligator snapping turtle, who’s been nicknamed Godzilla, was rescued by the animal charity Specialist Wildlife Services after apparently outgrowing its original home.
Godzilla, who measures approximately 18 inches is still a juvenile, but once fully grown could reach lengths of up to three feet and live to be 100.
Blue Planet Aquarium herpetologist Joe Chatell said: “Alligator snapping turtles are actually native to the United States. However, in the past they have occasionally been released into British waterways – with devastating effects.
“They hunt by lying motionless in the water with their mouths wide open. Their tongues have evolved a bizarre, worm-like appendage which they wiggle as bait to lure prey into their immensely strong beak-like jaws,” he added.
At 1,000 lbs per square inch snapping turtles are believed to have the second strongest bite strength of any animal in the world after the crocodile and some experts believe they may be able to live for up to 150 years in the wild.
Described as ‘living dinosaurs’ because of their primitive appearance, legend has it that a 403-pound specimen was found in Kansas in 1937.
The largest official individual on record is a 236-pounder in the Brookfield Zoo, Chicago with a shell measuring more than three-feet in length.
In captivity, both adults and juveniles have been known to eat fish, beef, pork, frogs, snakes, snails, worms, clams, crayfish, aquatic plants and other turtles.
Numbers in the wild have plummeted due to hunting and loss of habitat.