What Do Snapping Turtles Eat?

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Video snapping turtle feeding

This article is all about the diet snapping turtles eat in the wild and captivity as pets as an answer to the common question what do snapping turtles eat. You will also learn the basics of caring for snapping turtles as pets at home.

What do snapping turtles eat?

Snapping turtles eat both plants and animal meat because they are omnivorous. Snapping turtles prey on smaller animals such as tadpoles, fish, frogs, salamanders, small turtles, leeches, snails, snakes, worms, crayfish, birds and others. Snapping turtles also eat plants like algae, yellow pond lilies, water fern, water lettuce, bog moss and other aquatic plants.

There are two kinds of snapping turtles and each type has a different way of catching food. Alligator snapping turtles are huge freshwater turtles that have big heads and coarse thick shells. This kind of turtle has three rows of spikes on its shell and this often reminds people of alligators. Alligator snapping turtles are going to eat dead fish, snakes, fish, minnows and even other turtles. Alligator snapping turtles enjoy hiding in the water behind plants and wait for their prey to arrive. The inner part of the alligator snapper’s mouth is camouflaged, so other animals cannot see it in the water. The tongue of the alligator snapping turtle looks like a worm. The turtle sits immobile in the water with its mouth open. It waits for the prey to take the bait. When the fish or some other animal bites on the tongue, the alligator snapper is going to quickly close its strong jaws and enjoy the meal. Common snapping turtles are not alike alligator snapping turtles because the tongues are not shaped like worms. These turtles do not have teeth but they have strong jaws and beaks that they make use of to eat animals and plants. Common snapping turtles are going to eat small fish, insects, snakes, small birds, frogs and plants. The turtles are going to even eat other turtles and dead animals. It is a very common incident for a young common snapping turtle to think that another turtle’s tail is a worm and bite it.

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Here is a list of animals that snapping turtles eat:

  • Tadpoles
  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Salamanders
  • Small Turtles
  • Leeches
  • Snails
  • Snakes
  • Worms
  • Bird Eggs
  • Crayfish
  • Birds
  • Nestlings
  • Mallards
  • Small Mammals
  • Geese
  • Carrion
  • Insects

For plants, here is what do snapping turtles eat:

  • Leaves
  • Yellow Pond Lily
  • Algae
  • Water Fern
  • Water Lettuce
  • Common Duckweed
  • Common Arrowhead
  • Bog Buttons
  • Bog Moss
  • Mermaid Weed
  • Water Hyacinth
  • Hydrilla

Best Commercial Foods For Snapping Turtles

ImageProductDescriptionFeaturesBuyWhat Do Snapping Turtles Eat?Mazuri Aquatic Turtle DietA nutritionally complete diet for aquatic turtlesBalanced nutrition, Floating pellets, Supports healthy growthWhat Do Snapping Turtles Eat?Zoo Med Gourmet Aquatic Turtle FoodPremium blend of turtle food with added supplementsNatural ingredients, High in vitamins, Includes mealworms and shrimpWhat Do Snapping Turtles Eat?Fluker’s Buffet Blend Aquatic Turtle FormulaBlend of vitamin-fortified pellets and freeze-dried treatsEncourages natural foraging, Supports proper growth, Promotes a strong immune systemWhat Do Snapping Turtles Eat?Tetra ReptoMin Floating Food SticksHighly nutritious turtle food with added vitaminsEasy-to-digest formula, Promotes healthy shell, Floats for easy feedingWhat Do Snapping Turtles Eat?Exo Terra Aquatic Turtle Adult FoodSpecially formulated diet for adult aquatic turtlesSupports long-term health, Contains Gammarus shrimp, Vitamin C enrichedHikari Saki Turtle FoodPremium turtle food for health and growthFloating pellets, Odor-stop formula, Promotes healthy shell developmentRep-Cal Maintenance Formula Box Turtle FoodComplete diet designed for box turtlesFruit-flavored, Supports healthy growth, Contains essential nutrientsNature Zone Bites for Aquatic TurtlesSoft-moist turtle food with SpirulinaEasy-to-eat, Promotes strong immune system, Enhances colorationOmega One Adult Turtle SticksNutritious turtle food for adult turtlesFloating sticks, High in vitamins and minerals, Supports shell health

How do snapping turtles eat?

Snapping turtles eat at dusk and dawn when they are very active. They grab their food with an abrupt snapping action. Younger snapping turtles scour for food as needed but older turtles wait in the water to surprise the prey. When snapping turtles have other turtles as their food, they bite off the heads first and this is thought to be a way of protecting their territory or odd feeding behavior.

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How to care for snapping turtles as pets?

If you are interested in keeping snapping turtles as pets, it is important to know what snapping turtles eat and what their feeding habits are. It is actually not difficult to take care of a snapping turtle, it is just time-consuming. First, you need to make sure you make a good habitat, something that resembles their wild habitat as closely as possible and observe good practices to ensure that your turtle survives for a very long time.

  1. The first thing that you need is a tank. A good tank for a snapping turtle would be a 10 gallon tank. You may upgrade the tank to 55 gallons as the need arises. Baby turtles need a small island to rest on but adults do not.
  2. You also need sand and rocks. Collect nice big rocks outside. Avoid small rocks because your turtle might swallow them and choke to death. Put aquarium sand and smooth river rocks on your tank.
  3. While the turtles are still young, a heat lamp would be a good idea. Place the lamp over the shallowest part of the tank. Snapping turtles do not produce their own body heat and a few times, they enjoy sunning themselves in order to regulate their body temperature. Try to set the temperature to around 82.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Water should be without chlorine. The water in the tank must be shallow. It needs to be about as deep as the length of the shell of your baby turtle. Snapping turtles are not good swimmers and could drown if the water is too deep.
  5. Get a filter for your setup. If you do not have a filter, change the water frequently. The bigger your turtle becomes, the more gunk they make so you need to consider installing a water filtration system.
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While a snapping turtle is still an infant, it is quite irresistible and cute. But, when they get bigger, they can be a bit destructive or unhappy if they are not in the right environment. The truth is that if they are cared for properly, they can live, on the average to 40 years and a maximum of 100 years. Whether you like it or not, turtles like to hide from you. It is their natural instinct and makes them feel safe and comfortable. You can place a 20 ounce plastic bottle, clean it out really well, cut both ends off and put it in the water. You could also arrange rocks and form a mini-cave for your turtle to hide.

Facts about snapping turtles

If you want to know about truly amazing animals, you should check out snapping turtles. Know where do snapping turtles live, how often do snapping turtles eat, snapping turtle predators, where do snapping turtles live and what do snapping turtles eat. The snapping turtle is a turtle that lives in freshwater belonging to the family Chelydridae. Its habitat and home can be found in southwest of the Rocky Mountains, Nova Scotia, Florida and southeastern Canada. The snapping turtle is famous due to its combative aspect when it is out of the water. It has a tendency to snap its strong beak-like jaws placed well in its mobile neck and head every time it feels that it is threatened. When in the water, they love to hide themselves and flee underwater in sand or mud. The snapping turtle’s life can be categorized as one of variable and high mortality of baby turtles, high longevity, delayed maturity in mating, and repeated reproductive events with low success for every reproductive event. Snapping turtles can live up to 100 years old.

Continue reading here: What do Cougars Eat?

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>