The first alligator snapping turtle to be found in eastern Oregon was taken from the Prineville Reservoir before being killed by state wildlife officials, according to the Christian Post.
The turtle, which is known for being aggressive, has a diet that consists primarily of fish, but it's also known to eat small animals, such as ducklings. The species is native to the southeastern United States, and is considered by Oregon state wildlife officials to be an invasive species.
The turtles have such a strong bite that they are known to have caused injuries to humans. They also have a thick, ridged shell.
"People get these turtles when they are small and release them when they get too big and aggressive to keep as pets," Simon Wray, a conservation biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and wildlife (ODFW), told FOX 12, an Oregon affiliate of FOX News. He surmised that someone had owned the turtle as a pet before releasing it into the wild. "It's a poor choice for a pet and the environment."
A local fisherman notified the local authorities about the turtle when he spotted it on a fishing trip. The ODFW then sent biologists to capture it.
"I'd hate to see these turtles get established in Oregon," Rick Boatner, an invasive species coordinator with the ODFW, told FOX 12. "We already have problems in the Willamette Valley with common snapping turtles."
The turtle appeared angry and ready to strike when officials found it. They then euthanized the turtle to prevent injury.
"We euthanized it as soon as we got it back to the office," Greg Jackle, a district biologist, told the Statesman Journal. "It's obviously a very large turtle that was not something that we've ever seen over here before."
Alligator snapping turtles are the largest freshwater turtles in North America. They can reach sizes of up to 250 pounds.
Video of a researcher getting bitten, demonstrating the danger posed by the turtle.
This article is copyrighted by Travelers Today, the travel news leader