What Do You Feed a Snapping Turtle?

Snapping turtles are one of the most intriguing species of turtles. With their large size, and distinctive head that extends far out of their shell, they are usually very easy to spot. Snapping turtles prefer to live in shallow ponds and streams that have slow moving water. There are some species of snapping turtles that live in swamps and brackish waters. 

Snapping turtles are usually at the top of the food chain, and thus have a big appetite. Compared to other turtles, there is a much wider variety of things you can feed snapping turtles. 

What do you feed a snapping turtle?

You can feed a snapping turtle just about any type of feeder fish, or other live bait such as crickets, snails and worms. You can also feed your snapping turtle pellets. When it comes to vegetables, I recommend feeding your snapping turtle roman lettuce, collard greens, spinach, or kale.

If you are looking for cheap ways to feed a snapping turtle, I would recommend this Buffet Blend Turtle Food or these 3-in-1 meat turtle food.

Your snapping turtle will also probably like Zoo Med pellets. You can read my full Zoo Med aquatic turtle food review here.

Another one of my favorite thing to feed snapping turtles is live bait. This is because it is the most natural, and it also helps keep them active and healthy. 

What is the best snapping turtle food?

In my opinion, the best snapping turtle food is crickets. If you are unable to get crickets, I would recommend the pellets that I mentioned above.

How much should you feed a snapping turtle?

The amount you should feed your snapping turtle is dependent on their age. From 5 months until they reach their full size, you should feed them every other day. Once a snapping turtle reaches full maturity and becomes their full size, you should only feed them 2-3 times per week. 

What do baby snapping turtles eat?

For a baby snapping turtle that is 5 months or younger, you should feed them once or twice a day. Baby turtles have to eat more than older turtles since they are growing so much.

As omnivores, snapping turtles require a diet that is from both animal and plant sources. If feeding pellets or insects, you should feed the snapping turtle the amount that is roughly the size of their head. For vegetables, you should give the snapping turtle around 5 leaves at each feeding. You should never feed your adult snapping turtle more than 3 times per week, as snapping turtles are very susceptible to obesity.

In fact, obesity is the number one health related issue for snapping turtles in captivity. It can sometimes be hard not to feed your snapping turtle, especially when they are always begging for food. Snapping turtles always beg for food because they are opportunistic eaters.

This means that they will always eat something that is put in front of them, regardless if they have already eaten or are full. This is a natural instinct that they developed in the wild, where food is not readily available. They might even stare at you and beg for food even if you fed them two minutes before.

It is important to remember that you should only feed your snapping turtle while they are in the water. This is essential because a snapping turtle needs to be in water in order to swallow their food. Feeding a snapping turtle outside of water can result in choking or improper digestion.

You can check out this turtle feeding guide for more tips on how to feed a turtle.

What do snapping turtles eat in the wild?

In the wild, snapping turtles eat a wide range of things including

Compared to other species of turtles, snapping turtles have a very unique way of eating in the wild. The head of a snapping turtle can extend far out of their shell, which allows them to reach out and snatch their prey very quickly. Their head is very mobile and flexible and acts similar to a snake as it extends out and grabs the prey.

Snapping turtles have very strong jaws that can snap their prey in a second. Snapping turtles usually hide in the bottom of sediment and way for prey to pass by. Some species, such as the alligator snapping turtle, stick their long tongue out to attract small insects and fish to sit on their tongue. When it comes to vegetation, snapping turtles in the wild eat algae, ferns, and lilies.

While it is very rare, there are some instances of snapping turtles eating smaller turtles.

What animals eat snapping turtles?

Animals that eat snapping turtles include bears, coyotes, and crocodiles. However, adult snapping turtles usually don’t get eaten due to their large size and strength. Although snapping turtles are unable to hide their head in their shell, their aggressive demeanor and strong jaw usually keeps predators away.

That being said, there are a bunch of different animals that eat snapping turtle eggs and babies. These animals include foxes, racoons, birds, geese, fish, snakes, and sometimes other turtles.

How long do snapping turtles live?

Once a snapping turtle survives hatching and becomes an adult, they have a very long lifespan. Snapping turtles in captivity can live up to 50 years. In the wild, snapping turtles can live up to 100 years.

The main reason they can live so long is because of their large size, as they are at the top of the food chain and there are very few predators that can kill a snapping turtle. The main cause of death for snapping turtles in the wild are environmental changes and human interference. 

Common snapping turtle tank size

Snapping turtles are a very large species of turtle, and adults can grow up to 15 inches. Due to their large size, you should make sure you get a tank that is at least 120 gallons. Younger snapping turtles that haven’t reached their full size (typically 9 inches or less) can be put in a 55-80 gallon tank.

If you are unable to buy a large sized tank, you should put the snapping turtle in a nearby pond. I always recommend getting a tank that has a tall height, so it gives your snapping turtle the option to swim up and down. 

Best filter for snapping turtle

While snapping turtles are adept to living in dirty environments, I still strongly recommend buying a filter for your snapping turtle. Snapping turtles do produce a lot of waste, and a filter is essential to keeping the water clean. The best filter for snapping turtles should have a high wattage that can filter the water of a large tank. I personally think the best filter for a snapping turtle is the Penn-Plax Aquarium Canister Filter. It can filter turtle tanks of up to 150 gallons.