A 25-pound creature — a threat to “human hands and feet” — was found roaming through a pasture in Oregon, wildlife officials said.
The animal with an aggressive bite was captured April 28 in Harrisburg, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a May 25 news release.
It was identified as a snapping turtle, which is an invasive species to the area, wildlife officials said.
The turtle was over 30 years old, 14 inches wide, 20 inches long with a “head the size of a baseball,” officials said.
“You wouldn’t want to run into something like this if you were out fishing,” assistant district biologist Marianne Brooks said in the release. “You definitely wouldn’t want your dog to find it.”
Snapping turtles can bite when they are threatened. And their sharp beaks can remove “chunks of skin,” Brooks said.
Snapping turtles are invasive species
This turtle was illegally trafficked, wildlife officials said. Purchasing, possessing, transporting or releasing snapping turtles require a special license, officials said.
And releasing a non-native turtle to a wildlife area threatens native fish and wildlife habitats, making it an invasive species.
“Non-native turtles thrive in Oregon waterways and easily out-compete native turtles,” officials said.
Oregon’s native northwestern pond turtle and western painted turtle have had their populations diminish because of this, officials said.
But trafficking turtles is common across the world — and it’s a “booming business,” wildlife officials said.
Someone who releases an invasive species like a snapping turtle can be criminally cited, officials said.
It’s also illegal for someone to steal a turtle from its native area and sell it online, officials said.
Harrisburg is about 20 miles north of Eugene.