‘I’m glad I still have the five fingers on my hand,’ says student who rescued alligator turtle in Presidente Prudente | President Prudente and Region

“I’m glad I still have the five fingers of the hand I stroked her with,” he told the G1 student João Pedro Rodrigues Paes, 20, after discovering that the animal he helped to rescue in Presidente Prudente (SP) was an alligator turtle (Macrochelys temminckii), whose bite force can exceed the impact of 600 kilos, stronger than that of a lion, which is around 400 kilos.

The student reported to the G1 who was on his way to the family farm, last Thursday (26), when he saw the turtle on the edge of a rural dirt road, near the dam of the Rio Santo Anastácio.

“I felt sorry for it and stopped the car to prevent someone from running over the turtle. I called the Military Police and the Environmental Police. Initially, they thought it was a tortoise and that I should leave the animal in place. But I know what a tortoise is like. tortoise,” he said.

  • Alligator turtle, which has a stronger bite than a lion’s, is found in Presidente Prudente

A man on a motorcycle also stopped to help the boy. What caught Paes’ attention were the reptile’s characteristics. “It was very big, the paws looked like water, the tail was also different. It was very peculiar”, he reported.

Alligator turtle was rescued on a rural road in Presidente Prudente — Photo: João Pedro Rodrigues Paes/Cedida

However, even with the differences, he did not notice aggressive behavior.

“It seemed docile. I even petted the turtle without knowing it was angry. She was very calm. She only got more agitated after you lifted her and put her back on the ground. So much so that, in the photo I took, she is with his mouth open,” he said.

Paes also stated that he had the help of the man to put the turtle in the car. “Lucky that I had a blanket in the car. We took it and put it in the body and I took it to the Environmental Police”, commented Paes.

Alligator turtle was found in Presidente Prudente — Photo: João Pedro Rodrigues Paes/Cedida

It was only when he arrived at the Environmental Police base that he learned that he was not a helpless animal.

“There they told me that it was a dangerous animal and that, if it bit me, it would cut off my finger. I stopped thinking it was docile, that it was a lost animal, I never thought it was dangerous,” he said.

However, he only found out that it was an alligator turtle with the repercussions of the case.

“I found out it was an alligator when I read it in G1, I was impressed and thought: ‘Wow, I can’t believe I passed my hand. I’m happy that I still have the five fingers of the hand I used to caress,” he joked.

For the student, it is still a “mystery” to know how the turtle, which is a species native to North and Central America, ended up on the rural road in Presidente Prudente, in the interior of the State of São Paulo.

“I have no idea. I was just passing by and I was sorry because I like animals. There remains this mystery, if it’s animal trafficking, if anyone created it”, Paes pointed out to the G1.

Alligator turtle was rescued on a rural road in Presidente Prudente — Photo: João Pedro Rodrigues Paes/Cedida

The captain of the Environmental Military Police Julio César Cacciari de Moura told the G1 that the alligator turtle found in Presidente Prudente weighs between 15 and 20 kilos. He also said that, for now, there are no clues as to how the animal ended up on the country road.

“Our belief is that the animal was released close to that time. It is an extremely resistant animal. It does not belong to the Brazilian wild fauna. In addition, it is not marketed as an exotic animal either. It is present in some zoos,” he commented.

Moura also mentioned other details of the animal. “It has a serrated mouth. If it bites, it will have an amputation. And, unlike a tortoise and a normal turtle, this one can strike, it makes a move in a throw”, he pointed out.

For the captain, the biggest risk of having the presence of this type of animal is the imbalance in the fauna. “It has a difficult time having a predator. If it manages to breed, it has the power to spread, like the wild boar and the hare, which are not of our fauna and have spread,” he explained.

The alligator turtle is kept at the Cidade da Criança Zoo, in Presidente Prudente. “She did well. She is in an isolated cage to avoid contact because she can be mistaken for a common turtle or a tortoise. She will be treated there and be available to the zoo. Everything is fine with her, everything is fine,” concluded Moura .

Alligator turtle found in Presidente Prudente — Photo: Environmental Police

The release of the rescue of the turtle was made this Friday (27), by the Environmental Police.

According to the corporation, there was no record of the reptile’s presence in the west of São Paulo.

According to the police, what draws attention to the animal is the force of its bite, which can exceed 600 kilos, while that of a lion is around 400 kilos.

In addition, it is one of the largest and most aggressive turtles in the world, weighing up to 159 kilos, according to the corporation.

The alligator turtle’s jaws are so strong that they can easily break human bones, according to the Environmental Police.

The Environmental Police also informed that everything indicates that the animal was abandoned, as it originates from North and Central America and could not be in the region.

The turtle was taken to the Cidade da Criança Zoo, where it remains in the care of professionals working in the ecological park (see the video below).

Alligator tortoise, from North and Central America, is found in Presidente Prudente

Alligator tortoise, from North and Central America, is found in Presidente Prudente

According to the police, this type of practice is considered a crime and, if anyone has any information about who would have abandoned the alligator turtle, they should contact the corporation by telephone (18) 3906-9200.

According to veterinarian Érica Silva Pellosi, from Cidade da Criança, this is an exotic animal that is not part of the Brazilian fauna.

“It is found in North and Central America. It is a tortoise, a semi-aquatic animal, that feeds on fish, lizards and small birds. It is an extremely dangerous, aggressive animal. Its bite is very strong, being able to tear off a piece of a limb,” he explained.

Alligator turtle found in Presidente Prudente — Photo: Environmental Police

Alligator turtle found in Presidente Prudente — Photo: Environmental Police

VIDEOS: All about the Presidente Prudente region