Kentucky Aquarium’s Alligator Snapping Turtle Dies At 150 Years Old

Thunder was the aquarium's oldest resident, and one of its most iconic animals.

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Thunder was a mainstay at the aquarium since it opened in 1999. Via Newport Aquarium
Thunder was a mainstay at the aquarium since it opened in 1999. Via Newport Aquarium
John Virata

The Newport Aquarium in Kentucky has announced that its oldest resident at the aquarium has died. Thunder, an alligator snapping turtle who was popular with aquarium guests, died March 15.

She was estimated to be about 150 years old and weighed a whopping 150 pounds. A necropsy was conducted to determine the cause of her death. Those results will be available in the next several weeks, according to the aquarium’s blog.

“While Thunder was here, thousands of cast members and millions of guests have enjoyed and connected with her, including myself and I’m sure nearly all of you,” Eric Rose, executive director at the aquarium, said in an email to aquarium employees.

Thunder was very popular with aquarium guests and has been at the aquarium since it opened. Via Newport Aquarium

Thunder was very popular with aquarium guests and has been at the aquarium since it opened. Via Newport Aquarium

Thunder was originally found at a seafood market in Louisiana way back in the 1990s when it was legal to take alligator snapping turtles in the wild in that state. She was rescued due to her size, according to the aquarium’s blog. That ended the chance she would have been the main ingredient in some restaurant’s turtle soup. She was brought to a farm in Missouri, where she apparently was found and taken in by aquarium staff.


She had been at the aquarium since 1999, when it opened to the public, staying in exhibits near Gator Alley and Canyon Falls, where the aquarium says she spent most of her time.

RIP, Thunder. You lived a long life.

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Comments

  • Rip Thunder thank you for being such a great Ambassador for so very long

    Swfl Reptile Rescuers March 18, 2016 8:08 am Reply

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