Press Release


Aquarium Says Goodbye to Thunder, its Oldest Animal

March 16, 2016

NEWPORT, Ky. - Newport Aquarium’s oldest, and one of its most iconic animals, died Tuesday afternoon. Thunder, the aquarium’s 150 lb. alligator snapping turtle, and a mainstay in the Canyon Falls exhibit, was estimated to be 150 years old. She was an original resident of the aquarium when it opened in 1999. A necropsy (animal autopsy) has been performed, but the cause of death will not be known for several weeks.

Thunder was discovered in a Louisiana seafood market in the late 1990’s when it was legal to take alligator snapping turtles from the wild for commerce.  She was rescued because of her size, and sent to a Missouri farm where Newport Aquarium found her.  At the aquarium, she spent most of her time in exhibits near Gator Alley and most recently in Canyon Falls.


Thunder B-Roll: 25 seconds of high resolution b-roll of Thunder swimming in her exhibit.

Thunder High Res Photos:  Six High Resolution photos of Thunder.