100-year-old giant alligator snapping turtle vanishes along North Carolina interstate

Dan is seen holding his snapping turtle. (Photo courtesy of @turtlemandan910/TikTok)

A massive alligator snapping turtle somehow vanished from his owner’s car while the duo was traveling along an interstate in Durham, North Carolina. 

Dan Hemby told WTVD in North Carolina that he last saw his turtle named "Thanos" in the vehicle as both were heading from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to a Reptile Expo in Durham.

Thanos is a 38-inch, century-old bright yellow turtle weighing between 140-180 pounds.  

Hemby told the news outlet, "It's almost like losing a piece of myself, to be honest with you."

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Hemby was planning to take Thanos to the event when he felt like something wasn't right.  The man told WTVD that he noticed the straps in the car were popped open and moved to the side, explaining Thanos may have been taken at a rest stop, where he last checked on him. 

The owner also checked for blood marks on the highway but didn’t see any. 

Hemby also speculated that if Thanos fell and suffered any scrapes, the animal could survive if he landed on the front side of his body. 

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State wildlife officials shared with WTVD that there’s a chance Thanos could survive a fall and access water in a river, sharing that snapping alligator turtles are mainly aquatic species. 

The National Wildlife Federation notes that the alligator snapping turtle is the largest species of freshwater turtle and is found exclusively in the U.S. and is primarily an aquatic animal that never comes on land, with their preferred habitats being river systems, lakes, and wetlands. 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.