Baby Snapping Turtle Care and Breeding Guide

Baby Snapping Turtle Care and Breeding Guide

Baby snapping turtles are well adapted for hardy life and will easy adapt to diverse types of the captive life. The major problem with snapping turtles is their rather big size when they reach maturity. This makes them cumbersome for custom made aquariums you will find in the market hat are usually small in size. The good news for hobbyists wishing to keep baby snapping turtle is that baby snapping turtles are usually small and will easily be kept in small aquariums. There are various types of species of the snapping turtles i.e. the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentine) which is most common and the alligator snapping turtle (Machrochelys temminckii).

The average lifespan of this species of freshwater turtle is usually thirty years but some experts claim that if it is kept in great conditions in captivity it can live even up to fifty years old! The turtle is native to the North American continent most commonly found in the south eastern parts of Canada, the Rocky Mountains area, Nova Scotia, and parts of Florida. Experienced turtles keepers warn beginners that keeping the snapping turtle is not an easy job and if you got a faint heart you better keep off it.

Appearance of Baby Snapping Turtle

This turtle usually grows big. It will reach a maximum size of 45 cm in maturity and therefore the tank where you will want to keep must be large enough. The shell of the turtle is usually dark-brown or simply just plain brown depending on where exactly the specific turtle comes from. The juvenile fresh water snapping turtle will be small in overall body size and should be able to easily fit even a small tank. It must be noted though that this species can grow big so that it will overgrow a small tank where it was put when still a juvenile! The males are usually a little larger than the females in size.

Native Habitat/Geographic Range and Distribution in the wild

Just as is mentioned above, the baby snapping turtle species is a native of the North American Continent. Most of the turtles are found in the wild south eastern part of Canada. There are also some others that are found in the Rocky Mountains areas as well as Nova Scotia and Florida.

The turtle is a freshwater species preferring to use most of its time staying in water. Mostly you will find the turtles hiding in turbid waters with slow moving currents. In pools of water where they can also be found, they usually spend most of their time buried deep in the muddy sections preferring to stick out their nostrils and eyes in order to breathe in air.

The baby snapping turtle has a tendency to hide amongst rocks or plants that grow in the given pools or rivers or streams. In captivity, it may be a good idea to provide for the baby snapping turtle the same conditions such as these. They are usually more active at night when they are busy looking for food, they prefer to remain hiding during the day.

General Care and Tank Requirements

The turtles are hardy. It will survive in a captive setting but this is not to mean that keeping it is easy. It is a freshwater turtle that needs a knowledgeable aquarist to take care of. For one baby snapping turtle, a turtle tank that measures three square feet can be good to start with. Please bear in mind that the turtle grows super fast and will need a large enclosure for it to survive better.

For adult fresh water turtles, approximately 60 square feet of tank that will be able to accommodate it perfectly fine.

Enclosure furnishing

The turtle needs places that it will be able to hide and setting up plants will help things here. Plants also will provide elaborate decoration in the tank. You can also use clay pot, driftwood and storage boxes that can sink. All these will help provide ideal hiding places for the turtle when it is in a captive environment. Please note that the turtle may just eat live plants and therefore you will want to use items like pots or wood instead.


It is best to provide high-quality lighting that should be suspended over the tank so as to light the whole tank. A good light source should be a good UVB light source that should be placed near the basking spot. A good rule of the thumb is usually to place the bulbs within twelve inches of the turtle’s shell when it is basking. UVB lighting bulbs are great because they provide the turtle with the best component of the light spectrum thus allowing better calcium absorption.

Basking spot

The basking spot needs to have quality lighting bulbs that will be able to heat it up super well so that it can attain 95 degree Fahrenheit. Please be aware that these turtles usually don’t like leaving the water completely even when they are basking so a good basking place for them would be that that is somewhat sloppy. This will allow the turtle to bask while its body partially remains in the water.

The tank water quality

Because snapping turtles really like to eat and eat large amounts of food, they have a tendency to easily stale their tank water. It is true that a snapping turtle will quickly have the tank water polluted with its waste and leftover food particles. This therefore calls for a proper water filtration system installed in the tank. Regular water changes will also be vital even if you got a high quality filtration system installed.


Baby snapping turtles are primarily omnivorous that is they feed on both plant mater as well as small animals. Some of the common foods that the baby snapping turtle eats include; small rodents, insects, small fish, as well as turtle pellets. If you have one in captivity offering it a balanced diet of plant and animal products will help to keep your baby snapping turtle healthy and strong!

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