Feds propose threatened status for alligator snapping turtle

National News

FILE – A male alligator snapping turtle is held after being trapped by the Turtle Survival Alliance-North American Freshwater Turtle Research Group, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, as part of the process of tagging turtles. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, that it is proposing threatened status for alligator snapping turtles, huge, spike-shelled reptiles that lurk at the bottom of bayous and lakes, luring prey to their mouths by extending a wormy-looking lure. Every state in their range now protects them, but the lingering effects of catching the turtles for alligator soup are among reasons their numbers are now so low. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing threatened status for alligator snapping turtles — huge, spike-shelled beasts that lurk at the bottom of slow waterways, luring prey to their mouths by extending a wormlike lure.

Every state in their range now protects them, but the lingering effects of catching the reptiles for turtle soup are among the reasons their numbers are now so low.

They once were found in Kansas and Indiana, but their territory now spans 12 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

The federal agency on Monday posted a preview of a Federal Register notice planned Tuesday.

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