A 25-pound Alligator Snapping Turtle, a reptile named for its powerful jaws and not indigenous to Long Island, was found near downtown Smithtown over the weekend, Suffolk County authorities said.
A kayaker spotted the creature while fishing with his son in a stream near the Nissequogue River and the Smithtown bull statue at the corner of Route 25 and Route 25A, according to the Suffolk County SPCA.
The abandoned reptile is powerful enough to bite off toes or a part of someone’s foot, the agency said. People were walking in the water at the time to launch their kayaks and canoes, officials added.
Alligator Snapping Turtles are mainly found from eastern Texas to the Florida Panhandle, according to the Suffolk SPCA. Releasing such an animal into the wild is illegal in New York State.