MARVELL, AR (KARK) – A huge alligator snapping turtle swimming under a frozen Arkansas lake has been captured on camera.
A group of duck hunters came across the reptile hanging out under the ice in an area near Marvell in Phillips County.
The photo was taken earlier this month during the cold spell that kept temperatures below freezing for a few days.
Jonathan Evins estimates the turtle to be at 2.5 to 3 feet long. He says he was in the picture with the turtle because he was the lightest one in his group and was pretty confident the ice would hold him (but kept his fingers crossed just in case).“That thing could bite my leg off if it wanted to!,” he said.
For anyone wondering how turtles can survive under ice: A cold turtle in cold water has a slow metabolism and it breathes through its butt. The technical term is cloacal respiration, and it can help turtles survive underwater for well over 100 days. Here’s an article that explains how it all works.
Below is another picture taken in Arkansas this month of a similar-sized snapping turtle swimming below the ice in a frozen-over creek in north Stone County.