Snapping turtles are one of the most famous and largest species of freshwater turtles in the world. The term 'snapping turtle' includes the common snapping turtle and its larger cousin, the alligator snapping turtle. Their average lifespan is estimated to be up to 30 years, but if kept in great living conditions and a natural habitat, they can live up to 47 years.
Snapping turtles are mostly found in southeastern Canada, to the southwest in the Rocky Mountains, and also in Nova Scotia and Florida. If you are thinking about getting a young snapper for your home, then think twice. You may have seen them at a local store and they also might have looked cute, but caring for these baby turtles is not an easy job. Don't think that you could just put the turtle in your backyard or in a tank and your responsibility is over. It requires much more than you can imagine.
The first thing that you need to know about snapping turtles is that they grow very large in size. Almost 40 to 45 cm on an average. Their shell is dark-brown and they like the water to be covered with plants and moss. Muddy water makes them feel at home. Looking at their size, you would require a large growing space. When they are small, a 6 gallon glass aquarium is absolutely fine. The glass aquarium gives it a great view and also helps the baby turtle to identify its surroundings. Unlike other turtles, snappers are very active in nature. They like to move everything, so there's no need to decorate the tank.
Like all amphibians, snappers also require shade for hiding. So make sure that you get your pet a shade in the aquarium. For ideal care, make sure that the water is about 68°F. A higher temperature will prove bad for its health. Baby snapping turtles spend most of their time in the water. Their favorite position is the whole body inside, with just the nose outside. Fill the aquarium according to their size.
One of the most interesting snapping turtle facts is that they eat anything. Dead stock, live meat, fruits, vegetables, and even your finger, so be very careful while feeding them. The only point to remember about baby turtles is the size of the food morsels fed to them. People who have no idea about how to take care of a turtle might be feeding the same food that they feed the fish. Fish food is not wrong, but it's definitely unhealthy. There are various forms of aquatic turtle food which are available in pet stores. If you go online, you will find many websites which give you in-depth information on different types of turtle food. You can feed them live crickets, night crawlers, meal-worms, and various other crawling creatures. Remember that the size of the prey shouldn't be bigger than the size of the predator. You can also feed them leftover food. Try baked potato, grilled chicken, and even strawberries.
Points to Remember
Now that you know about baby snapping turtle care and diet, here are some pointers to keep in mind before bringing the pet home.
- The baby turtle will not stay cute always. It will grow large in size and also weigh almost 60 pounds when it gets old.
- Searching for a suitable place for it to live is also necessary. The baby might be comfortable with a 10 gallon tank but as it grows an inch, you have to throw in an extra 10 gallon space.
- Snapping turtles cannot be trained like regular turtles. Due to the large amount of waste they generate, they tend to make the environment very dirty. You have to clean the aquarium every 4 days.
- They are at their best behavior when they are in water. They will not hesitate to bite people and also eat up other animals. When they feel threatened, they start to hiss.
- If you plan to buy more than one snapping turtle, there's a higher chance that they might bite each other. So it's advisable that you keep them in different pools.
It's not easy to take care of baby snapping turtles. In many US states, these creatures are an endangered species. Make sure you do some research about the animal laws of your state and before deciding to bring this turtle home.