Those with the good fortune to have attended last Saturday's presentation by the Nature Coast Biological Station at the Cedar Key Library got an outstanding introduction to the Suwannee alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys suwanniensis), a local species that is new to science. These turtles were long thought to be members of a wide-ranging species that occurs across much of the southeast. But investigators noted that they shun salt water, come out on land only briefly to lay eggs, and probably have been isolated from their closest relatives for tens of millions of years. Biologists Savanna Barry and Travis Thomas summarized several lines of scientific evidence that clearly demonstrate that those in the Suwannee basin are members of a distinct species. Few people and few professional biologists have ever seen these secretive turtles in the wild, but they are abundant in the Suwannee and its tributaries, and are huge, weighing up to 250 pounds. Thomas and several collaborators also discovered another new species, the Apalachicola alligator snapping turtle that occurs on the western edge of Florida's Big Bend region. Thanks to the NCBS for reminding us of the unique biological treasures that surround us.
The Refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Due to coronavirus concerns, the headquarters building is closed to visitors. However, staff are working as usual and the Refuge is open for appropriate recreational uses including boating, hiking, fishing, biking, and birding.
The Refuge Manager Andrew Gude can be reached by text or phone at 703.622.3896.
Hunting Information from the Refuge Manager
The print version of the 2019-2020 Hunt Regulations Brochure is now available at Refuge headquarters. For a digital version,
click on the photo below.
For Information about getting a Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge Hunt Permit and a Deer Bag Report, Click Here
To Apply for a Permit to Hunt on the Lower Suwannee Refuge,
For a copy of the Deer Harvest Log, Click Here
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