According to Simon Wray, ODFW Conservation Biologist, it was probably released into the reservoir by someone who kept it as a pet. “People get these turtles when they are small and release them when they get too big and aggressive to keep as pets,” he said. “It’s a poor choice for a pet and the environment.”
Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species Coordinator, said alligator snapping turtles are rare in the western part of the state but have been reported. “I’d hate to see these turtles get established in Oregon. We already have problems in the Willamette Valley with common snapping turtles.”
If you see an alligator or common snapping turtle, contact your local ODFW office. If you have an unwanted pet turtle, contact ODFW so it can be humanly euthanized and kept out of Oregon’s waters.
An angler fishing on Prineville Reservoir reported the nonnative turtle to ODFW and biologists captured it the following day. The alligator snapping turtle (Marcroclemys temminckii) is the largest freshwater turtle in North America and can grow to 250 pounds.