Keeping Common Snapping Turtle as Pets

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

The common snapping turtle is a type of freshwater reptile. It belongs to the Chelydridae family. This turtle got its name for its powerful beak-like jaw. Common snapping turtle has a very mobile neck and snake-like head. It could live up to 100 years in captivity. Although the common snapping turtle is not an ideal pet, it’s become a popular choice for pet owners.

When fully grown, a common snapping turtle is known to bite human beings. But it does so as a last resort to defend itself. Unlike most turtles, common snapping turtle is quite large. Once it grows up, it’ll need a larger home.

Setting Up a Home For Your Pet Turtle

Setting up a home for your turtle is easy. First, you will need a tank. Any kind of tank works. But remember, for every inch the turtle grows, it will need ten gallons of water. As far as size goes, you want a tank that can accommodate a growing turtle.

You want to dress the tank with rocks to simulate its natural habitat. Turtles love to hide underneath rocks. This makes them feel safe. You can create different sanctuary within the tank to keep your pet comfortable. You can also make your own “turtle cave” to simulate its natural habitat. You can add fake plants to finish up the setup.

Next, get a heat lamp to keep your turtle nice and warm. Then, add non-chlorinated water. Common snapping turtles thrive in brackish water, they don’t mind a little dirt. But they are not as tolerant to chemicals used to process the water.

Caring For Your Pet Turtle

When it comes to food, you do not want to over or under feed your pet turtle. Unlike normal cats and dogs, turtles are covered with a hard shell. This makes excess weight a problem. They literally have very little room for excess weight. If the skin of your turtle is folding out of its shell, you might’ve overfed it. On the other hand, if the turtle goes into his shell and you can barely see it, it’s underfed.

Unlike other types of turtles, the common snapping turtle is not a picky eater. You can buy any type of turtle food at your local pet store and it will eat it with passion. Snapping turtles also love bread, bologna or lettuce. They also love noshing on crickets. If you’re feeding it with bugs, just catch the little buggers and put them in the water. Your turtle will do the rest. Just make sure the bugs won’t escape the tank!

Snapping turtles will grow bigger than common turtles. There will come a time when it will outgrow its original tank. Hopefully by then you have a small pond near your home. You can put the turtle there and it’ll be just as happy.

One thing you should never do when dealing with a fully grown common snapping turtle is to release it into the wild. Unfortunately, pet turtles do not develop the same skills that wild turtles do. If you leave the turtle on its own in the wild, it will be dead within a week. That’s because it doesn’t know how to defend itself against predators. When you care for a common snapping turtle, you need to commit to it all the way.