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Strange-looking 'dinosaur turtle' turns up in river

25 June 2015

Social media goes crazy over images of reptile with spikey back and alligator-like features.

'When we saw it, we did not even realize that it was a turtle. It reminded us of a dinosaur.' Picture: Anastasia Steshina

A giant turtle normally found in the warm waters of the American south-east has turned up on the banks of a river in the Russian Far East. The alligator snapping turtle – which is the heaviest freshwater turtle in the world – was spotted at the Amur near the Leninskoye settlement.

Pictures of the animal, which has powerful jaws, pointy ridges down its shell, and rough ridged skin like an alligator, appeared on social media last week.

At first it was thought they were fake, until a video also appeared on Tuesday showing how local people are trying to make the turtle swim back into the river.

Speaking at the beginning of the clip, a woman is heard saying: 'Releasing the beast into the wild'.

A man then carries the turtle closer to the river and then splashes it with water before trying to push it in with his boots. The woman filming the video responds by telling him: 'Don’t! Look it doesn’t understand yet what's going on.'

Giant turtle


Giant turtle

The alligator snapping turtle – which is the heaviest freshwater turtle in the world – was spotted at the Amur near the Leninskoye settlement. Pictures: Anastasia Steshina

The man carries the animal closer to the water and then adds: 'We will put it close to the water, so it will understand faster.'

Finally the turtle goes to the water and swims away.

Leninskoye resident Anastasia Steshina, who made the video, said: 'It was caught by my fisherman friend. When I got the call I immediately rushed to watch and take pics. 

'When we saw it, we did not even realize that it was a turtle. It reminded us of a dinosaur.

'I have never seen such a thing before and neither have my friends. We talked to the local fishermen and they think it is not the only one here since, they say, such animals do not live alone.

'There are rumours that we harmed the animal. But as can be seen on the video, we did not do anything harmful, just pushed it to the water. It swam away and was not turned into someone's soup.'

Giant turtle


Giant turtle

'It can move on the ground and you can see it has claws – and I tell you, they are very big.' Pictures: Anastasia Steshina

She added: 'It wasn’t just scary - it was biting through sticks with its jaws and tried to attack us, awkwardly though because it is a water animal. That said, it can move on the ground and you can see it has claws – and I tell you, they are very big.'

It is not clear how the reptile – often dubbed the 'dinosaur of the turtle world' - ended up in the Jewish Autonomous Region, since they are normally found in the likes of Florida, Texas and Missouri.

One theory is that was thrown away by a Russian keeper when it became too big and has ended up in the Amur. Another is that it is possible the Chinese are involved in breeding the turtles on the other side of the river - it is said to have tasty meat and eggs.

Comments (5)

you already hurt the turtle picking it up by its tail.u could paralyz and kill turtle holding it like that,think of it as a guy getting a lowblow
stve, ca
05/03/2018 12:14
0
1
Beautiful Alligator Snap Turtle! So thankful that no one harmed it. Yes, they do look like living dinosaurs, and in a way, they are. I see lots of them, here in Texas. They deserve to be admired and respected.
Kari Celestine , Burke, Texas
02/07/2015 14:59
4
0
Thanks to the folks for saving a specimen of living history...here in the states along the Ohio River and Kanawha River and their tributaries these things live longer than we folks do, if they are not caught by hand called "noodling." Great story and fantastic photographs...thanks so much for sharing.
Ozzie Finley, Point Pleasant, United States
28/06/2015 02:12
7
0
Amazing.
Pieter, Musselkanaal (Netherlands)
27/06/2015 17:08
4
1
Wow! A turtle built like a tank & did you see how he/she obeyed the woman & got in the water & the man had to push her with his wellington foot.


Turtle-Dee, Turtle-Dum.
Jaker, Dundalk
27/06/2015 08:31
5
0
1

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