Predation on alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) by northern river otters (Lontra canadensis)


We found alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) carcasses in association with northern river otters (Lontra canadensis) at two sites in Oklahoma in summer 2006. Both specimens of turtles were juveniles, and at least one had been hatched and head-started in captivity prior to being released. This specimen was part of a radiotelemetry study at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in east-central Oklahoma. The second carcass was found while investigating recent sightings of northern river otters at Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge in southern Oklahoma. With the exception of cannibalism observed in a study of diet of adult alligator snapping turtles, these are the first reports of specific incidences of likely postembryonic predation of alligator snapping turtles.

Document Type



Publication Date


Journal Title

Southwestern Naturalist