Monday, January 12, 2009

Alex’s Research Paper

Alligator Snapping Turtles are mostly found in muddy waters. They like to eat fish and small animals. They have unique skills for hunting and can hide in the mud from predators. They have a very powerful jaw, almost the most powerful in the world.

Muddy water is the perfect habitat for the Alligator Snapping Turtle. The muddy water keeps them cool. Also, it hides them from prey and predators. Their shell looks like the bottom of the river, because it is lumpy and brown. That makes the mud great camouflage.

Small fish are the prey of the Alligator Snappers. They hide in the mud on the bottom of the freshwater rivers and wiggle their tongue, which looks like an earthworm. Then they snap down their magnificent jaws, which are the second strongest in the world, second only to the Tasmanian devil. The turtles use their claws to slash the prey they catch into small pieces for eating. It uses its beak like a spear to stab the prey.

After eggs are laid, Snapping Turtle babies are on their own. The mother turtle trudges 160 yards from the river to the nest to lay her eggs. In 80-90 days the babies come out of their eggs to face the dangers of the 160 yards to the river. Birds, big fish, alligators and other predators are likely to eat the hatchlings on their way. In fact, only 1 in 20 hatchlings live to their second year.

There is only one predator of an adult Snapper, humans. We eat them and use their shells in exotic animal trade. The hatchlings are defenseless and have many predators. This is why only 1/20 of the hatchlings live.

Alligator Snapping Turtles have excellent camouflage. They also have great jaw strength. They are protected in specific ways. Their jaw, claws, and shell make them difficult prey. Their habitat, the muddy water, makes them hard to see and capture. Those are some of the many reasons Alligator Snapping Turtles are so awesome.


Sarah said...

Wow Alex, you did a great job on your report! I really enjoyed learning about Alligator Snapping Turtles from you- they are a truly interesting animal. I read your report to Bayus and he really liked learning about these turtles. Bayus says I need to read your report to Elias and Hannah because it is so cool! You did a great job buddy!

grandma said...

Mom just sent me your report it is great. What a fun thing to study. You really did a good job of telling their story. I loved it.
Thanks Alex. love Grandma.

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