Mac the big snapping turtle dies at Florida’s Sunken Gardens

Animal’s age was not known

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Mac, an alligator snapping turtle that lived at a botanical garden in Florida for more than 50 years, has died.

The turtle died unexpectedly on Monday, according to Dave Biggs, supervisor of Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg.

“The Sunken Gardens family, and especially the animal care team members are deeply shocked and saddened by this unexpected loss," Biggs said in a news released. “Mac showed no signs of injury, illness or distress prior to his death.”

A necropsy will determine the cause of Mac's death, Biggs said. It is being conducted by a team of veterinarians at Sunken Gardens.

No one knows Mac’s exact age, but Biggs said the turtle arrived in St. Petersburg sometime in the 1960s. Mac was popular with guests who often referred to him as the giant turtle, Biggs said.

The turtle was recently featured in a children’s book, “Sophie and Zack at Sunken Gardens" by Robin Robson Gonzalez and funded by the Sunken Gardens Forever Foundation.

“Mac was an important part of Sunken Gardens and a special turtle,” Biggs said.

Sunken Gardens is 100 years old and features some of the oldest tropical plants in the region, along with waterfalls and a flock of flamingos.