As if there wasn't enough to be afraid of in the world already--here are the world's most DANGEROUS turtles!
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With a shell measuring nearly 6 feet wide, this creature would have been one of the largest turtles ever. Its fossils have been recovered in Colombia, where it lived some 60 million years ago during the Mid to Late Paleocene. Although smaller than Archelon and Stupendemys, this had to be a tough critters tough, given that it co-existed with the enormous snake Titanoboa, as well as large crocodiles. Experts think the creature had tremendously powerful jaws that could have clamped down on almost any type of prey … which included crocs and mollusks. The animal could have survived by taking out its competitors in the area. And speaking of tough, did you know that turtles were among the few animals that survived the K-T Extinction Event some 66 million years ago? Tough indeed.
#5 African Helmeted Turtle
Also known as the Marsh Terrapin this reptile lives in stagnant and fresh waters in sub-Saharan Africa. Their carapace can range in size from about 8 to 12 inches, and they appear innocuous enough. But they’re also called the Crocodile Turtle for the feeding behavior they can exhibit. This is the only turtle species that is known to attack in groups. WHen larger prey including water birds, snakes, or other species of turtles are within range, these omnivorous critters will launch an assault on the prey, capture it, and drown it. To the human eye, it can appear like a swarm of crocodiles attacking.
#4 Loggerhead Turtles
After the leatherback sea turtle, this is the second largest extant turtle in the world. … they generally weigh up to about 440 pounds with a length of more than 3 feet. The greatest weight documented was more than 1,200 pounds. That serves to make them the largest hard-shelled turtle in the world as well. And they are widely distributed throughout the world’s seas. They’re noted for their powerful jaws and for having an aggressive temperament … at last where the females are concerned. Female to female aggression is fairly unusual with marine vertebrates, but it seems to be common with loggerheads. Conflicts occur over feeding grounds, with the confrontations escalating until the turtles start snapping their huge jaws at one another. The standoff will often end with one combatant chasing off the other. This territorial behavior has also been observed with captive specimens … and conflicts occur with other sea turtles as well..
#3 Leatherback Sea Turtle
This creature is the largest of all extant turtles … and at more than 1,500 pounds and measuring over 7 feet long, it’s also the world’s fourth heaviest modern reptile as well. Instead of a hard shell, they have a series of bony plates that is covered by a leathery, oily skin. Along with its hydrodynamic, tear shaped body, this creature is noted for its mouth … The creatures have no teeth, so instead of chewing its food the turtle uses its upper lip … and down its throat are a series of backwards-facing spines that not only help it swallow its food …. But also serves as a means of preventing the prey from escaping! That’s bad news for jellyfish in particular … that seems to be the favored cuisine of the animals … and they’ll often dive at depths exceeding 1000 meters to pursue their meal. They’re also pretty adventurous, found in waters from Alaska, to New Zealand.
#2 Common Snapping Turtle
This big turtle can be found from Canada to Florida … so the freshwater critter seems to favor its share of adventure. It’s notorious for its aggressive disposition when taken out of the water. Its beak like jaws are powerful, and its head and neck are exceptionally mobile. Adults can weigh up to 35 pounds, with a rugged carapace that measures more than 18 inches. Usually favoring ponds or streams, they typically don’t have many predators … But they actively hunt down prey including fish, frogs, and small mammals. Since they’re at the top of the food chain in their environment, the common snapper is not too easily perturbed. When encountering a human in the water, the turtles will often swim quietly away. But if they’re caught, they can become extremely aggressive … and can deliver a bite strong enough to amputate your finger. So if you see them in the wild, it’s best to respect the snapper’s space!