CHICAGO (CBS) — Today is moving day for an endangered alligator snapping turtle who’s outgrown her habitat at Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and is being moved to a bigger space.
The aptly named Patsy McNasty is ten-years-old. In the six years the prehistoric-looking turtle has been at the museum, she’s grown from five to 12 in. and now weighs 14 lbs.
“Pasty is still considered very much of a baby. This is a species that is known to live over 100 years,” said Celeste Troon, Curator and Director of the museum’s Living Collections. “Females are considered to be smaller than the males,” she added.
In fact, mature males can weigh 250 pounds, and one at the Shed Aquarium weighed in at an impressive 250 pounds.
Troon said there’s a presumption about the bite of these dinosaur-lookalikes.
“There is a theory that if you were to put a broom handle in front of their face and wiggle it about that they are capable of cutting straight through. I haven’t tested the theory,” she joked.
The alligator snapper is considered to be an endangered species mainly due to the loss of habitat, Troon said, before noting, “but also, unfortunately, they taste rather good.”
Still, the turtle is thriving Troon said.
“She’s now grown a nice garden on the back of her shell, which is what you tend to see on wild turtles.” The “garden” being algae.
The museum is marking Patsy’s moving milestone with a housewarming party.