Snapping Turtle as Pet

Snapping Turtle as Pet: What You Need to Know Before You Buy One

Do you want to keep a snapping turtle as a pet? 

If you do, then you need to make a good research before purchasing one. These animals are not what you might expect. What’s once bought as a cute, small turtle can grow into a big and unbearable animal. Keep that in mind! 

However, they can be good pets, as well. Many people have had success keeping snapping turtles as pets. You can certainly be one of those people, too. You just need to learn the basics and make sure you can provide the living conditions these animals require. 

While I would not recommend a beginner to keep a snapping turtle as a pet, it can be achieved with proper knowledge and the right resources.

How to Keep a Snapping Turtle as Pet 

The first thing you should learn before you purchase a baby snapping turtle is the size it can reach. These are not ordinary pet turtles you can get in pet stores. These are wild animals that grow big and need different conditions compared to typical aquatic pet turtles.

The second most important thing you should be aware of is the commitment you make when you buy a snapping turtle. Snapping turtles have a surprisingly long lifespan. If you are not ready for that kind of commitment, you shouldn’t buy a baby snapping turtle. 

And third, never release a snapping turtle into the wild. If for any reason you can’t keep your snapping turtle anymore, seek out a turtle rescue or someone that can adopt a turtle. 

Snapping Turtle Tank Setup 

As juveniles, snapping turtles don’t require much space. However, they grow fast, and sooner than later they’ll outgrow their current enclosure. To avoid any problems in the future, plan ahead when you are setting up the first tank for your baby snapping turtle. 

Many people recommend at least a 10-gallon tank for a start, however, in my opinion, that won’t be enough for your turtle. It can be achieved, however, you’ll need to upgrade its tank in no time. Instead, start with a 50-gallon tank. That way you’ll have time to monitor your snapping turtle growth rate, and later on, decide if an upgrade is needed. 

Snapping turtles, like any other turtles, can be messy animals. A proper filtration system is a must-have in every snapping turtle tank. A UVB light, it’s a great addition to the tank, as well. It’s important for the health of the turtle shell. 

One of the most important things in setting up a snapping turtle tank is determining the level of the water. The depth of the water should be as high as the turtle can comfortably sit on the gravel and reach its head to the surface. These turtles are not picky when it comes to temperature. However, make sure that it’s between 75 and 85 Fahrenheit degrees. 

Snapping Turtle Diet 

Snapping turtles are omnivores and will eat almost everything you feed them. However, like any other animal, in order to be healthy, a diverse diet is required. We have a separate guide on what to feed baby snapping turtles if you are interested to learn more about their diet. 

Snapping Turtle Behavior 

Snapping turtles are not for everyone. They have unique behavior that not many hobbyists can handle. If you want to keep it as a pet, at first, you need to get familiar with its habits. 

Snapping turtles are infamous for attacking their owners. If they feel threatened, they’ll attack. They don’t like to be held, so the best way to enjoy these animals is by looking at them from a distance. 

Snapping Turtles Tankmates 

Snapping turtles don’t get along with other tankmates. They do best when they live alone. 

If you try to keep fish with your turtle, it will most certainly end with the turtle eating the fish. Any attempt to introduce a new animal in the habitat will end catastrophically, as well. For example, they don’t get along even with turtles from the same species. 

Can you collect a snapping turtle from the wild? 

Snapping turtles shouldn’t be collected from the wild. If you are interested in keeping a snapping turtle as a pet make sure that it has been born in captivity.

Purchase a baby snapping turtle only from reputable breeders. It’s the best choice to ensure you’ll get a healthy specimen. Prepare the habitat upfront so that everything is ready when the baby snapping turtles arrive. 

And, be aware, even snapping turtles born in captivity can become aggressive animals. Always handle them with caution. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you tame a snapping turtle? 

Snapping turtles, even though frequently kept as pets, are still wild animals. However, I’ve read that some people had success taming these animals. As they say, with lots of practice and patience, your snapping turtle can get used to you. But, it always comes down to the turtle personality. Not every turtle will feel comfortable around people. 

Can a snapping turtle kill you? 

Snapping turtles can be hostile towards humans, however, it’s unlikely that it will kill a human. But, for your own safety, always be careful when you are in the presence of a snapping turtle. 

Will a snapping turtle bite a dog? 

Snapping turtles won’t attack other animals unless they feel threatened. Naturally, dogs are curious animals. If you, by any chance keep both a dog and snapping turtle in your home, make sure that they don’t get in contact. Snapping turtles have a powerful bite which can seriously injure your dog. 

Final Thoughts 

Snapping turtles are one of the most exotic turtles you can keep as pets. Despite their attractive appearance, you shouldn’t keep them in your home, unless you are an experienced turtle keeper. 

Baby snapping turtles are cute and irresistible, and not that difficult to take care of. And, they are not picky when it comes to food. 

At first sight, it sounds perfect. But, there is a catch. They grow quickly, and sooner than later you’ll have a large animal, that’s not so friendly towards you. If you still want to keep a snapping turtle make sure that you can provide all the living conditions we’ve mentioned in this post. And never forget how long snapping turtles live. An animal once bought as a pet can potentially become a lifetime companion. 

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