Alligator snapping turtles might be the most mesmerizing and simultaneously ugly creature on this planet. These freshwater turtles are powerful, heavy, and very large: they look like creatures dreamed up by a nightmare factory.
They often hang out with their mouths spread wide in their triangular beaked heads. Sometimes they’ll linger with their disgusting pond mouths at the murky bottom of a river and let their wormy tongues attract prey into their death-trap mouths. Coming face to face with one is like looking at an alien, demon, and dinosaur wrapped up into one awesome reptile.
As fearsome as they look, alligator snapping turtles, which are native the southeastern United States, are listed as a vulnerable species, in need of protection. In Houston, one in particular needed to be rescued after getting himself stuck in a water pipe.
“The pipe was dented at the opening, preventing the turtle from passing through; he struggled to keep his head up as water rushed over his body,” Patch reports.
It’s not exactly clear how he got there to begin with, but a local fire department and Houston wildlife rescue team were able to dislodge him, which involved pulling him out with a sort of grappling hook:
When they freed him, though, they found that several other alligator snapping turtles had died trying to get through the blocked pipe. The 53-pound guy who caused the blockage, though, is being treated at the Wildlife Center of Texas.