The alligator snapping turtle is a species of turtle in the family Chelydridae. The species is native to freshwater habitats in the United States. M. temminckii is one of the heaviest freshwater turtles in the world.
It is the largest freshwater species of turtle in North America. It is often associated with, but not closely related to, the common snapping turtle, which is in the genus Chelydra.
Some myths claim that alligator snapping turtles are known to attack people, but this isn’t the case. But with a bite force of 1,000 pounds, their powerful jaws can snap through bone—so they should never be handled in the wild.
The alligator snapping turtle is characterized by a large, heavy head, and a long, thick shell with three dorsal ridges of large scales (osteoderms), giving it a primitive appearance reminiscent of some of the plated dinosaurs.