Alligator snapping turtle pulled from Prineville Reservoir

Alligator snapping turtle pulled from Prineville Reservoir
Alligator Snapping Turtle found in Prineville Reservoir. (Photo from ODFW)

BEND, Ore.—The first alligator snapping turtle found in the Central Oregon wilderness was pulled out of the Prineville Reservoir, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported Monday.

The department killed the turtle, which it says is an invasive species in Oregon and native to the Southeast.

A man reported seeing the giant turtle in the reservoir while on a fishing trip last week. 

“I’d hate to see these turtles get established in Oregon," said ODFW Invasive Species Coordinator Boatner. "We already have problems in the Willamette Valley with common snapping turtles.”

Officials said the alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America, and can grow up to 250 pounds.

Department biologist Simon Wray said he thinks it was a pet that someone released into the reservoir.

“People get these turtles when they are small and release them when they get too big and aggressive to keep as pets,” Wray said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.