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Long Island

Alligator snapping turtle found in Smithtown stream

Authorities are trying to figure out how a dangerous 25-pound alligator snapping turtle, a species whose bite can amputate a toe or finger, ended up in a stream in Smithtown -- where it was found over the weekend by a father-and-son who were kayaking and fishing there.
The turtle was discovered in the stream at the intersection of Route 25 and Route 25A, opposite the Smithtown bull, the Suffolk County SPCA said. Officials said kayakers and canoeists were walking in the water near where the giant turtle was found and said they could have been harmed.
Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross said he believes the turtle was abandoned in the stream and is "another perfect example of people dumping reptiles which are illegal to own which could pose danger and risk to the public."
Alligator snapping turtles can easily approach 200 pounds, according to National Geographic, and can live to be 100 years old. They are "almost exclusively" found in freshwater rivers, canals and likes in the southeastern United States, generally in the Florida panhandle.
"The prehistoric-looking alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America and among the largest in the world," National Geographic said. "With its spiked shell, beaklike jaws, and thick, scaled tail, this species is often referred to as the 'dinosaur of the turtle world.' "

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