SPCA: Abandoned alligator snapping turtle is dangerous

Officials on Long Island are warning that a 25-lb. alligator snapping turtle found over the weekend in Smithtown could have seriously injured, even maimed, people in the water at the time. The abandoned reptile is powerful enough to bite off toes or a part of someone's foot. A kayaker discovered the dangerous reptile in the stream opposite the Smithtown Bull statue at the intersection of Route 25 and Route 25A in Smithtown, according to SPCA Chief Roy Ross.

Alligator snapping turtles are mainly found from eastern Texas to the Florida Panhandle.

The reptiles have strong hooked beaks. Their shells have three serrated ridges along their backs. They can stay on the bottoms of rivers, lakes and canals 40 to 50 minutes at a time.

Gross said that this is another perfect example of people dumping reptiles which are illegal to own which could pose a serious danger and risk to the public. People were walking in the water at the time when the reptile was spotted.

A news conference with a photo of the alligator snapping turtle is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

With the Associated Press