Alligator snapping turtles and colorful, freshwater fish circle the American alligator with albinism known as Claude—all part of a lush exhibit highlighting ecosystems of the Southeastern United States. 

A returning favorite from the original Steinhart Aquarium, the Swamp is best known as the home of Claude, the startlingly white Alligator mississippiensis that's become one of the Academy's most-famous residents. Go below for underwater, eye-to-eye views of Claude and the Swamp's other creatures, then explore surrounding tanks filled with fearsome-looking alligator gars and a fascinating array of reptiles, arachnids, and amphibians. 

Close-up profile photo of Claude on his rock.

Color of Claude

Claude might appear white, but it's actually a complete lack of pigment—known as albinism—that makes him look that way. Find a friendly docent near the Swamp to hear more tales of Claude, and join us at 3:30 pm daily for our Swamp Talk program!

Visitors watch a dive show in the Philippine Coral Reef exhibit.

Gateway to Steinhart

The Swamp is the first gallery visitors encounter when they head below the surface—just beyond the Swamp await the Philippine Coral Reef, California Coast, Water Planet, and an ocean of other wonders. 

An enormous alligator snapping turtle walks along the sandy bottom of the Swamp exhibit.

A serious snap

Meet the largest freshwater turtle in the world—one with amazing adaptations for luring in prey. Not only are the insides of alligator snapping turtles' mouths camouflaged, but their tongues are tipped with a worm-shaped appendage that can be used to attract hungry fish.

A coiled up Eastern diamondback rattlesnake seems to stare at the camera.

Snakes, salamanders, and more

Meet our beautiful eastern diamondback—a member of the largest of all rattlesnake species. Found throughout the southeastern United States, they're terrible climbers, excellent swimmers, and have highly potent venom that they use to subdue their prey.