Two fishermen in southeast Oklahoma got quite the surprise when they hooked a 4-foot-long alligator snapping turtle that weighed nearly 100 pounds.
Oklahoma game wardens said Jonathan Van Fleet and Anthony Dover were running a trout line on Little River, a tributary of the Red River, when they caught the alligator snapping turtle on Saturday.
Officials said the men used sunfish as bait.
The anglers were able to safely bring the turtle onto their boat, remove the hook from its mouth and contact the Oklahoma game warden.
Officials said the turtle’s shell was about 24 inches wide, 26 inches long and measured 23 inches around.
According to National Geographic, the prehistoric-looking turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America and one of the biggest in the world, with a spiked shell, beak-like mouth and scaled tail.
It is often called the ‘dinosaur of the turtle world.’
They can live to be up to 100 years old and grow to about 175 pounds in size.
The largest alligator snapping turtle ever recorded weighed over 220 pounds.
The “ancient angler” captured in Oklahoma appeared to be in good health and was returned to the Little River, officials said.
Wardens said it’s against the law to keep an alligator snapping turtle in Oklahoma, and one bite could easily rip off your finger or even your hand.
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