Giant 53-Pound Alligator Snapping Turtle Rescued From Texas Drain Pipe

The turtle "struggled to keep his head up as water rushed over his body."

December 1, 2016, 6:13 PM

— -- A 53-pound alligator snapping turtle was recently rescued after it was found wedged at the end of a pipe in a new development near the city of Hockley, according to the Houston Society for the Protection of Animals.

The rescue happened this past Tuesday, Nov. 29, when an individual exploring the area discovered the trapped giant turtle and called the Houston SPCA.

"The pipe was dented at the opening, preventing the turtle from passing through," the Houston SPCA said in a news release. "He struggled to keep his head up as water rushed over his body."

Animal rescue staff then called the Rosehill Fire Department for assistance, the Houston SPCA said. Firefighters used a hydraulic rescue tool known as the Jaws of Life to open up the pipe, and a veterinarian was able to free the 53-pound animal.

Several deceased alligator snapping turtles flowed out after the pipe was cleared, according to the Houston SPCA.

The surviving turtle was transported to the Wildlife Center of Texas, where he is being medically evaluated and treated, the Houston SPCA said.

The animal protection organization noted that alligator snapping turtles "are native to Houston and are one of the few protected freshwater turtles in Texas."

They are currently rehabilitating one other snapping turtle, according to ABC affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston.

"The state has designated them as threatened with extinction," it said, "so once the compromised alligator snapping turtles have healed, Houston SPCA’s Wildlife Center of Texas will work with Texas Parks and Wildlife to release them both in a suitable habitat."