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Snapping Turtles

Attention Anglers

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is conducting an alligator snapping turtle restoration project in West Tennessee which involves the release of live alligator snapping turtles. Both adult and juvenile turtles have been released to restore this rare, native species. Alligator snapping turtles are listed in Tennessee as In Need of Management and are illegal to take.

Alligator Snapping Turtle


  • Alligator snapping turtles have three large prominent ridges along the back, a large head, and a prominently hooked beak.
  • Often reaches weights in excess of 30 pounds.
  • Alligator snapping turtles have an extra row of scutes (scales) between the outer scale row and the large center scales.

Common Snapping Turtle


  • Common snapping turtles have a smoother, rounded shell (especially as adults) without the three ridges, and a smaller head and weakly hooked beak.
  • Rarely exceeds 30 pounds.
  • Common snapping turtles do not have the extra row of scutes (scales) between the outer scale row and large central scales.

For more information or to report sightings of alligator snapping turtles, contact TWRA at 731.423.5725, or write to 200 Lowell Thomas Dr., Jackson, TN 38301

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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