what do baby snapping turtles eat

What Do Baby Snapping Turtles Eat? (The Complete Guide)

Learn what a baby snapping turtle eats, how often snapping turtles eat, and how much food they need. 

If you are interested in keeping snapping turtles and you want to do everything it’s in your power to raise a healthy and strong turtle, then setting up an appropriate diet should be first on your list. 

In this article, we’ll answer some of the common questions people have when it comes to the baby snapping turtle diet. In addition, we’ll answer other related questions, too. But first… 

What do baby snapping turtles eat? 

Baby snapping turtles are omnivores which means that diet has both animal and plant origin. They eat small fish, earthworms, tadpoles, aquatic plants, and even small rodents. In addition, they can eat commercially prepared food for turtles, as well. 

Now, let’s dive into the subject more thoroughly.

What to Feed a Baby Snapping Turtle

Snapping turtles are unusual animals with interesting behavior and kept as pets by some people. If you are interested in keeping these animals in your home, first, you need to learn the fundamentals of keeping snapping turtles. 

I assume you’ve provided a tank and an appropriate environment for your turtle. The next step you should take is to learn about the snapping turtle diet. 

What do snapping turtles eat? And what type of food is healthy for them? 

Snapping turtles are not picky eaters. They’ll eat everything you throw in front of them. But, that’s not necessarily mean it’s good for them. In order to raise a healthy snapping turtle, you need to pay attention to its diet. If you want to be successful in keeping snapping turtles, try to replicate what they eat in the wild by adding additional supplements, as well. 

In general, baby snapping turtles should eat foods that consist of both animal and plant origin. Baby snapping turtles can eat commercially prepared food, however, you should give them live foods, as well. 

If possible, avoid giving it food you caught in the wild. It may contain unknown pathogens that can hurt your turtle. Instead, buy live food from reputable pet stores. In general, most pet stores have live foods in stock, so you won’t have a problem finding one. 

Baby snapping turtles enjoy eating blood worms, fish, shrimps, and all kinds of other animals. However, as I said earlier, their diet should include vegetables as well. 

A balanced diet is a key to a healthy and happy snapping turtle. You can give them fruits as well, however, only on some occasions. 

How To Feed Baby Snapping Turtles 

Baby snapping turtles are cute little creatures until they become the monsters they are known for. Feeding your turtle is one of the most fun things about keeping turtles as pets. Everyone enjoys looking at those tiny babies begging for food. 

To this day, I still enjoy every part of feeding my turtles. From personal experience, I know how messy turtles are. And, what happens after feeding them.

Giving them food whenever you can is not a good strategy, and it certainly causes you more problems than it should be. What you should do, instead, it’s to follow a simple strategy. 

Feed the snapping turtle in a separate smaller container

Snapping turtles are messy animals, and can often relieve themselves in the tank while eating. To make your life easier, and to not clean the tank after every meal, set up a different container and feed the turtle there. Make sure that the water is from your main tank. 

Leave the turtle around 30 minutes, monitor the situation, and when it’s finished, take back to its tank.

Feed your pet turtle live food once in a while

Snapping turtles love live food. It’s in their blood. They need live foods to awoke their instincts, however, you should not overdo it. Feeder fish, and other types of live foods usually lack the necessary nutrients. Always buy live food from reputable sources. Never take take from the wild because it might contain potentially harmful pathogens. 

Add supplements to your snapping turtle diet

Turtles need vitamins, especially vitamin D, which is necessary for shell development. Supplement their diet with vitamins and minerals, and you’ll raise a healthy and happy turtle. 

How often do baby snapping turtles eat? 

The chances are every time you offer a meal to your baby snapping turtle, it will eat it. 

However, you need to be careful. Overfeeding your juvenile snapping turtle can cause serious health problems. Snapping turtles are prone to become obese. 

To stay on the safe side, feed juvenile snapping turtles once or twice a day. An adult snapping turtle should be fed several times a week. 

What do baby snapping turtles eat in the wild? 

Snapping turtles in the wild don’t have constant access to food. They mainly depend on their instinct for hunting and the availability of food in the environment they live in. Younger snapping turtles have different feeding strategies than adults. They actively forage for food, on the other hand, adult snapping turtles wait and surprise the prey. 

Snapping turtles don’t have teeth, however, they have a powerful jaw they use to eat. 

In the wild snapping turtles eat a lot of different animals and plants. They can eat fish, frogs, worms, small turtles, insects, and even small mammals. 

Final Thoughts 

Keeping snapping turtles can surely present some challenges, however, it can be a really rewarding experience, as well. Taking care of them is one hell of a journey. However, you need to be careful and take some things into consideration. 

If you are charmed only by the cuteness of baby snapping turtles and you want to keep one, think twice before you do any rash decision. What may seem like a good idea at first, can turn into a very bad experience. Why am I telling you this? 

Baby snapping turtles are cute and irresistible when they are younger, however, as they grow older their appearance and behavior start to change. If they are not happy with the diet, or the environment where they live, they can become destructive. And believe me, when I tell you, you don’t want an unhappy snapping turtle in your home. 

Now I’d like to hear from you. What’s your opinion on this subject? 

Let me know in the comments below. 

5 thoughts on “What Do Baby Snapping Turtles Eat? (The Complete Guide)”

    1. Snapping turtles see anything that lives with them as potential food. I wouldn’t release a baby snapping turtle in a pond with other snapping turtles. Make sure that baby snapping turtle reach an approximate size of the other turtles, and then consider releasing it. However, take into consideration that if there is not enough space in the pond, turtles may start attacking each other.

  1. I just found a baby snapping turtle in my garage of all places. How it got there I have no idea. I would like to keep it until the spring when it gets warmer out. We have a stream about a quarter mile down the road. The little guy hasn’t eaten anything that we put in front of him yet. Any thoughts on keeping then releasing him?

    1. We found one that we kept as well. After trying several food options (greens, carrots, fruit,
      turtle pellet food) we gave him blood worms from the pet store which he quickly took a liking to. It’s the only thing we’ve seen him actually eat.

  2. E. K. Minagawa-Ritchie

    I found a baby snapping turtle in March of this year. I have tried just about every commercial food available for amphibious turtles. He will not eat the pellets or the floating sticks and so on, but does like on occasion the freeze dried river shrimp and mealworms. Despite his refusal of most of the food he has had, he has gotten fat. I have started to feed him in a separate tank once a day instead of twice. Any suggestions on how to get him to a healthy weight?

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