The alligator snapping turtle is found in Louisiana, but soon may be declared threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

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Today, 2,244 species are listed as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and one animal commonly found in the south may soon join that list. 

Alligator snapping turtles are known for their large jaws and multiple spikes. 

These large reptiles can be found in Louisiana, but their recent decline has raised the question of how to properly protect them. 

There is a restriction on the harvest of the species in Louisiana, but the federal government is now questioning if that is enough. 

Lawmakers recently proposed that these turtles be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but nothing is official yet. 

LSU professor Andy Nyman says there are many causes to these turtles' decline, and most causes are linked to one thing in particular. 

“So, it’s a combination. It’s all about people. Number one, habitat destruction, and then number two, overharvest,” Nyman says.

To learn more about alligator snapping turtles, visit the National Wildlife Federation's website here.