Food habits of 109 Macrochelys temminckii (Alligator Snapping Turtles) collected from Arkansas and Louisiana were studied by examination of stomach and intestinal tract contents from harvested turtles. There was a positive correlation between the turtle carcass mass and the gastrointestinal tract content mass (r = 0.39106, p < 0.0001). The most commonly occurring prey item was fish, followed by Procambarus clarkii (crawfish), molluscs, turtles, insects, and Myocastor coypus (nutria). Other mammalian species occurred infrequently, as did snakes, birds, and crabs. Several species (Dasypus novemcinctus [armadillo], Didelphis virginiana [opossum], Sciurus sp. [squirrel], and Sus scrofa [hogs]) that have not previously been reported as prey items for Alligator Snapping Turtles were noted. Some prey items were recovered in intestinal tracts that were not observed in stomachs, illustrating the importance of examination of the entire gastrointestinal tract when evaluating food habits in this species. The results suggest Alligator Snapping Turtles are opportunistic scavengers able to consume a wide variety of prey species.
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