Alligator snapping turtles are not a very social species. You will never get the kind of interaction which you will have with common snappers.
They prefer secluded places where they can be left alone. They like slow moving water, like 'lazy' rivers, lakes or swamps. Unlike the common snapping turtles,
which like to swim around and climb logs to bask, the alligator snappers leave water only to lay eggs. The rest of their lives, which would be perhaps 99%,
they stay submerged. They are a truly aquatic species in this sense - just like the sea turtles.
People are fascinated with the aligator snappers not for their social side, but their 'primitive', very unique and attractive look. Many people
call the 'living dinosaurs', and although they the two are not related, judging just by the looks of these turtles I totally agree.
The 'gator snappers', as people call them, will defend themselves when taken out of water. Their defense is quite passive though, when compared to
the pro-active way the common snapper will try to strike and bite. Their necks are short and they can't 'shoot' them forward like their cousins can.
Instead, they will keep their huge and incredibly powerful jaws wide open and while closely keeping an eye on you they will move their head
in your direction - always ready to slam them close. Their beak like jaws are very sharp and even more powerful. An adult large snapper could easily
amputate a persons fingers, perhaps even a hand. If bitten, if you are lucky enough to get away with your digits still attached,
the injury, to say the least, would be significant.
If approached on the ground, the alligator snapper will stay still in this described above position. Left alone it will turn around
and try to get back to their home and safety - in the water.
These turtles are not aggressive by nature. Just like the common snappers, they prefer to be left alone, and they will never go after people.
The alligator snappers are much easier to handle than the commons, and it's all due to their short necks. It is safe to hold even the largest
specimen by the sides of their carapace. The only problem would be their weight, so prepare to do some workout before putting yourself up
to this challange !
Handling large alligator snappers should be left to axperienced adults, and children should be left out of it. I would recommend that even the
babies of this species if handled by children, it should be always done with supervision.
Hunting techniques of these turtles are very similar to their defensive pattern. With their jaws open they will wiggle the fleshy lure inside their mouth
to attract fish. The only pro-active technique they use would be turning of the head in the direction of fish. They slam the mouth shut when one enters
this trap, slicing it in half or hooking it on their sharply pointed beaks. The fish then usually gets swallowed in whole.
They will also move sometimes towards the fish, but they are absolutely not chasers and quite slow, especially at larger sizes.