Are Snapping Turtles Good Pets?
Snapping turtles are famous for exhibiting aggressive behavior, yet they draw the attention of many petters and convince them to pet these species. But the question is, are snapping turtles good pets?
Snapping turtles are a controversial choice for pets. While some people find them to be low-maintenance and hardy creatures, others find them too aggressive or difficult to care for. However, snapping turtles can be great pets if you know how to handle them correctly. They can deliver serious bites that can cause serious injuries and are not recommended for first-time turtle owners.
So, what do you need to apply to be friends with a snapping turtle, and are these reptiles ideal for beginners? We will answer all these questions in this content. So, let’s dive deep into it.
Snapping turtles are a group of freshwater turtles that belong to the family Chelydridae. In this profile, you will find two species of snapping turtles, their physical characteristics, behavior, habitat, diet, and care requirements.
|Name||Common Snapping Turtle||Alligator Snapping Turtle|
|Scientific Name||Chelydra serpentina||Macrochelys temminckii|
|Size||Up to 50 cm (20 in) carapace length, up to 34 kg (75 lb) weight||Up to 80 cm (31 in) carapace length, up to 113 kg (250 lb) weight|
|Appearance||Rough, bumpy shell with serrated posterior edges, long tail, powerful jaws||Rugged, bumpy shell with 3 prominent longitudinal ridges, large head with a hooked beak, long tail, powerful jaws|
|Habitat||Freshwater bodies such as ponds, lakes, and streams with muddy bottoms||Freshwater bodies such as rivers and large streams with muddy bottoms|
|Range||Southeastern Canada to Florida, west to the Rocky Mountains||Southeastern United States, from Texas to Florida|
|Diet||Omnivorous, including fish, invertebrates, plants, and carrion||Primarily carnivorous, including fish, invertebrates, and other turtles|
|Lifespan||Up to 30 years in the wild, up to 47 years in captivity||Up to 120 years in the wild, up to 70 years in captivity|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern||Threatened|
|Care Requirements (Basic)||Large enclosure with ample swimming space, basking area, and hiding spots. Water temperature should be maintained at 24-28°C (75-82°F). An omnivorous diet includes commercial turtle food, live or frozen fish, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Regular cleaning of enclosure and water to prevent disease.||Large enclosure with enough swimming space, basking area, and hiding spots. Water temperature should be maintained at 24-28°C (75-82°F). Primarily carnivorous diet including live or frozen fish, invertebrates, and small amounts of plant matter. Regular cleaning of enclosure and water to prevent disease.|
Can Snapping Turtles Be Friendly?
Snapping turtles live a solitary lifestyle and don’t prefer to get bothered by humans. Hence, if you are after petting a social animal, a snapping turtle won’t be a good choice for you.
But if you are an experienced turtle owner or reptile enthusiast and know how to deal with this hostile creature, you can pet a snapping turtle. These reptiles make good pets if cared for properly.
Can Snapping Turtles Be Tamed?
Though snapping turtles are famous for being belligerent, they are tamable if you know how to tame them. For that, you need to handle a snapping turtle from its young age accurately.
Also, you must offer them the ideal habitat. Finally, you need to pat them gently when feeding them. Above all, never try to hurt these belligerent reptiles. This way, you can tame a snapping turtle.
Are Snapping Turtles Good For Beginners?
Many turtle lovers decide to pet snapping turtles, especially baby ones, as they look adorable. But many pet owners don’t know that these reptiles become large and arrogant when they age. They develop a spunky attitude.
More importantly, snappy turtles require high maintenance, which many petters can’t afford—in short, as we have mentioned in the intro, snapping turtles aren’t beginners’ things.
People should only try petting a snapping turtle if they have any prior experience concerning taming a turtle.
Do Snapping Turtles Like Humans?
Snapping turtles prefer living alone and avoid company, yet are tamable. These reptiles, especially alligator snapping turtles, are famous for being aggressive and will do anything to avoid humans.
However, snapping turtles aren’t dangerous to humans until they feel threatened. Like any animal, they also have a survival instinct, making them furious.
Can Snapping Turtles Bond With Humans?
Indeed, snapping turtles can make a strong bond with humans. They recognize their owners and even detect their owner’s voices.
Not only that, but some turtle owners have reported that their snapping turtles tend to swim up to the water surface whenever these reptiles notice their owners.
So, if you wonder, “do snapping turtles recognize their owners?” we hope you have the answer.
However, making bonds with snapping turtles requires owners to undergo a lot of hassle, and with that, bond-making tests the turtle owners’ patience.
How Do You Bond With A Snapping Turtle?
As you know, snapping turtles are pretty belligerent and can attack humans when threatened. Therefore, you need to be incredibly cautious while bonding with them.
Below, we have shared some strategies to help you if you think about “how do you befriend a snapping turtle?” so let’s read them.
- Always try to feed the turtle by hand because it will make the turtle comfortable with your presence.
- After hand-feeding the snapping turtle several times, you should lightly pat the turtle’s neck and head when it consumes food.
- If you notice the turtle becoming aggressive, you should leave it, wait until it calms down, and then try patting again.
- Let the turtle crawl on you or sit in your lap, which will help make a strong bond. FYI, turtles tend to urinate when picked up, so take precautions while picking any turtle.
- Last but not least, try to keep the turtle indoors and spend as much time with it as possible.
These methods will help you befriend a snapping turtle. But ensure you keep patience and try hard to bond with your beloved snapping turtle.
Can Snapping Turtles Show Affection?
Some turtles show affection to their owners by exhibiting playful behaviors. But whether snapping turtles show love or not has never been reported.
Herpetologists consider snapping turtles solitary as these reptiles don’t like human company, and neither do they prefer getting picked up, handled, stroked, or cuddled. Not even these turtles play with toys.
What Is The Best Way To Care For A Snapping Turtle?
When considering the best way to care for a snapping turtle, you first need to think about where to keep it. FYI, snapping turtles can’t or have a hard time swallowing food on land. They need an aquatic environment to consume food.
Hence, you must have a large snapping turtle tank in your home. By large, we mean your turtle tank’s size should be at least 120 gallons. Besides, the tank should be deep enough to hold dechlorinated water.
Its glass must be thick and robust. Above all, your snapping turtle tank should offer easy access to the heated basking area.
Here you can see some of the best snapping turtle tanks to figure out what tank types you must acquire (the link will take you to amazon).
The below points are the ways you can make your snapping turtle happy and healthy.
01. Creating A Habitable Environment
Now you have selected your turtle tank, it’s time to make it habitable for your beloved pet. First, you need to prepare the basking spot; to do that, you can mount a UVB light over the docking area.
Afterward, you need to pay attention to the water temperature. Although snapping turtles can withstand cold environments, installing a submersible heater inside the tank will be more comfortable.
Now, it’s time to install a biological water filter inside the turtle tank. FYI, snapping turtles tend to make water filthy in no time. Hence you need to clean the tank water once a week to prevent your pet from developing any life-threatening diseases.
And if you have a water filter, you can postpone the tank-cleaning chore for two weeks, though. Lastly, you can decorate your turtle tank with the substrate to give your pet a homey atmosphere.
Add several plants, driftwood, large rocks, sand, or mud-like bottom to your snapping turtle tank. However, this task is entirely optional.
02. Feeding Them Appropriate Food:
What you feed your snapping turtle matters a lot when it comes to taking the best care of your pet. FYI, snapping turtles are opportunistic omnivores, meaning they gobble everything that fits in their robust beaks.
If you wonder, “what do snapping turtles eat?” Here you go: these reptiles feed on aquatic insects, plants, fish, small mammals, amphibians, and even other turtles and reptiles.
Alongside offering them redworms, nutrient pellets, and small fish based on age, you can serve your pet leafy veggies and fruits, including grapes, apples, blackberries, carrots, etc.
Now let’s talk a bit about how frequently you should feed your snapping turtle. Well, if your turtle is under six months old, you should feed it twice daily.
And if it ages under two years, you can feed it once every day. However, once your turtle becomes two years old, you should feed it three times each week (this can vary depending on the situation).
Nota Bene: Offer as much food a snapping turtle can consume in ten to fifteen minutes because plenty of food consumption will make it suffer from obesity.
So, these are the steps you should follow when you want to tame and take good care of a snapping turtle.
What are the Pros and Cons of Having a Snapping Turtle as a Pet?
Although some petters find snapping turtles adorable and love to pet them, petting these reptiles have pros and cons. Let’s check out those pros and cons below.
- Snapping turtles have an incredibly long lifespan.
- They are sturdy and scarcely fall sick if you take good care of them.
- They have a unique appearance compared to other turtle species.
- Snapping turtles are entertaining and make great pets if you can handle them.
- Snapping turtles’ care regimen is challenging.
- They grow massive and tend to be aggressive.
- They require an entire aquatic enclosure to thrive.
Do Snapping Turtles Attack People?
Snapping turtles are known for their aggressive behavior, and their aggressiveness reaches its peak when they are on land or during the nesting season.
At this time, they may attack animals and humans if they feel threatened. So, if you pet any animal other than a turtle, such as a dog, you shouldn’t allow your dog to come in contact with the snapping turtle.
These reptiles’ bites are so powerful that they can cause severe damage to your dog. So anyway, if you are searching for the answer to the question, “will a snapping turtle attack my dog?” there you have it.
But if you are curious whether turtles are poisonous to dogs or not, check the above article!
Can A Snapping Turtle Hurt You?
A snapping turtle can hurt you if it considers you a threat. Usually, a snapping turtle won’t harm anyone as long as it feels safe and secure. So, you are safe as long as you are not disturbing it.
Now let’s talk about how much damage these reptiles can cause.
It depends on the snapping turtle type. As we have mentioned, you can find two kinds of snapping turtles: alligator snapping turtles and common snapping turtles.
The alligator snapping turtles can bite with a bite force of about 160 newtons, while the common snapping turtles have a bite force of 260 newtons.
To help you make an easy assumption, humans’ bite forces range between 160 to 180 newtons. Hence, now you can understand how painful a snapping turtle’s bite can be.
Do Snapping Turtles Hiss At You?
Baby snapping turtles may hiss at you when they are scared or feel threatened. These baby reptiles exhibit their anger by hissing at the potential threat.
Not only that, but also they can snap at you. Babies and adult turtles snap at humans and other creatures to defend themselves.
If you wonder, “why do snapping turtles snap at you? ” we hope you understand why they exhibit such behavior.
Will A Snapping Turtle Chase You?
Snapping turtles don’t chase or attack anyone under normal circumstances. But if you bother them, especially when they are on land, or you visit their nests and touch their eggs, they can chase you.
Alligator snapping turtles are famous for chasing as these creatures remain sensitive, territorial, and overprotective during the nesting period.
Hence, if you don’t want them to chase or snap at you, you should avoid visiting their habitats and picking them up when they are on land.
Can A Snapping Turtle Take Your Arm Off?
Although snapping turtles can leave memorable scars on your skin, no report has been filed regarding a snapping turtle taking anyone’s arm off.
But some researchers believe that these turtles, specifically alligator snapping turtles, have the ability to bite a human arm off (not verified, though).
Hence, if you don’t know how to pet a snapping turtle, you shouldn’t bother them or bring these aggressive reptiles into your home.
What Happens If You Get Bitten By A Snapping Turtle?
Snapping turtles have powerful bites, which can be dangerous if not handled properly. As you know, snapping turtles boasts an incredible amount of bite force, and their bites can provide sharp pain.
Inferiorly, you may see blood coming out of your skin where these reptiles bite. However, a person may get paralyzed or even die if the bite is severe and not treated properly.
Is It Illegal To Have A Snapping Turtle As A Pet?
It depends on where you reside. For example, if you live in North Dakota or North Carolina, you can’t own turtles as pets, as these two states ban petting turtles.
Alongside that, some states prohibit the commercial trade of turtles. There are some regulations people must follow while capturing snapping or other turtle species.
Below, we have answered some other relevant questions to help you comprehend whether you can keep a snapping turtle as a pet or not. Let’s read.
Can You Take Home A Snapping Turtle?
It depends on where you get the turtle. If you find a snapping turtle in the wild, you can’t bring it into your home. FYI, keeping wild animals as pets is illegal in the United States.
However, you can purchase a baby snapping turtle from a reputable breeder. But ensure you give the pet the required habitat and other essentials to let it thrive.
Can You Own A Snapping Turtle In Texas?
Indeed, you can own a common snapping turtle in Texas, but you must possess a nongame permit for that. Additionally, you must have a valid Texas hunting license to collect a snapping turtle from the wild.
But you can’t possess an alligator snapping turtle even though you have a nongame permit and a hunting license. It’s because it’s illegal to capture alligator snapping turtles in Texas.
Can You Own A Snapping Turtle In California?
No, you can’t own a snapping turtle in California, as this state bans capturing non-native turtles for petting and commercial trade purposes.
According to the state’s law, you can possess only three turtle subspecies in California: red-eared sliders, spiny softshell turtles, and painted turtles.
Can You Keep A Snapping Turtle As A Pet In Ohio?
Yes, you can keep a snapping turtle you brought from the wild. But you must have a fishing license and collect the turtle from the wild between April 30 and July 1.
According to Ohio’s law, you can’t possess eggs of snapping turtles or turtles that have shells smaller than 13 inches.
How Much Does A Snapping Turtle Cost?
The price of a snapping turtle ranges from $30 to $6000. How pricey a snapping turtle is can depend on various factors. For instance, if you want a typical baby snapping turtle, you can purchase it for only $30.
Again, when trying to purchase a baby alligator snapping turtle, you will need to pay around 40 bucks or even more. Adult snapping turtles’ price fluctuates from $150 to $499.
On the contrary, you may need to spend more money to own a particular snapping turtle species. For example, if you want to be a proud owner of an albino common snapping turtle, you need to pay around $5000.
So, how much a snapping turtle will cost entirely depends on your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I Be Scared Of Snapping Turtles?
Though snapping turtles are famous for being hostile, they won’t attack humans or animals unless they feel threatened. In essence, they remain shy in water and flee from humans. So, you shouldn’t be scared of them.
2. How Big Do Snapping Turtles Get?
Generally, adult snapping turtles’ carapaces tend to be eight to fourteen inches long and weigh around ten to thirty-five pounds.
On the contrary, alligator snapping turtles feature thirteen to thirty-two inches long carapaces, and their weight ranges between 19 and 176 pounds.
3. Can You Touch Snapping Turtles?
Indeed, you can touch a snapping turtle to tame it. But make sure you touch it gently and try to pick it up by holding its shell’s back. If you pick them up any other way, they can be scared and bite you. But if it’s in the wild, avoid it.
4. Is It Hard To Take Care Of A Snapping Turtle?
Snapping turtles have a challenging care regimen as their diet varies and require a large aquatic place to reside. Besides, their behavior changes rapidly, and they are hard to handle.
So, now you know whether snapping turtles are good pets or not. They are intriguing and unique pets if you know how to raise and handle them correctly. In addition, they can make a bond with their owners.
If you take good care of them, you will find these turtle species lovely too. And that’s all for this article; we will catch you with the next one.
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