Though very similar, the two species have some key differences that even a novice turtle fan can use to easily tell the two apart.
SHELL: the carapace of the common snapping turtle is much more smooth than that of the alligator snapping turtle, whose scutes are raised, giving his shell a “bumpy” appearance. Though the shell of alligator snapping turtles tends to wear down over the years, becoming smoother, it rarely ever gets as smooth as the shell of the average common snapping turtle.
HEAD SHAPE: the physical shape of both animals is different with the common snapping turtle having a more oval-shaped head and the alligator snapping turtle’s head forming a distinct triangle shape.
EYELASHES: though they are not eyelashes like those mammals possess, alligator snapping turtles have dermal denticles that form above the eyes and appear to be eyelashes. Common snapping turtles have nothing around their smooth eyes.
TONGUE: one of the most distinctive anatomical parts of the alligator snapping turtle’s body is the worm-like appendage that is on their tongue. The turtle uses this to attract prey in murky water.
#turtles #terrapins #tortoises #TSF