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Posted by Tara Henson on 05/24/2012


The Oklahoma City Zoo is sad to announce the death of our alligator snapping turtle.  The well-liked turtle affectionately called Elvis by his caretakers died on May 17, 2012 after receiving treatment for a critical medical situation. The Zoo’s veterinarian team estimates he was more than 80 years old based off of his medical history.  Elvis was a favorite among zoo guests who visited him at his home in the Zoo’s Noble Aquatic Center: Aquaticus. He will be missed by us all.

Native to the Sooner state, the alligator snapping turtle is known for being the largest freshwater turtle in North America which proved true with Elvis who weighed an impressive 252 pounds. Elvis was donated to the Zoo in 2003 to be featured in Oklahoma Trails, the Zoo’s exhibit that showcases the diverse collection of wild animals, birds and reptiles native to Oklahoma. Due to modifications being made to the alligator snapping turtle exhibit constructed in the Big Rivers building at Oklahoma Trails, Elvis was housed at Aquaticus.

If you would like to share your memories and thoughts about Elvis, please go to the Zoo’s Facebook fan page at Your photos and memories are welcome.


Elvis Extras:

  • Donated by Dunn’s Fish Farm in Fittstown, Oklahoma (located south of Ada); he spent 20 years of his life there before coming to the Zoo.
  • Alligator snapping turtles are vulnerable worldwide and a Species of Special Concern in the State of Oklahoma. They are protected by Oklahoma State Law.

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The Zoo is a fully accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums (AAM) as both a living museum and a botanical garden. AZA accredited facilities are dedicated to providing excellent care for their plants and animals, a great experience for guests and a better future for all living things.

A New Breath of Fresh Air: As of Nov. 1, 2007, state law prohibits smoking inside zoological parks. Please help us abide by this law by refraining from smoking within the Zoo. Thank you for maintaining a smoke-free environment for all living things!