What Does a Snapping Turtle Eat?

Save

Snapping turtles eat many types of animals and aquatic plants. They use the rough cutting edge of their beak-shaped upper jaw to tear their food for consumption because they don't have teeth to chew food.

Prey Foods

Snapping turtles are considered opportunistic omnivores, thus they will eat pretty much any living critter they can get in their mouths. Some of the many animal foods they eat include:

  • Fish
  • Tadpoles
  • Frogs
  • Small turtles
  • Salamanders
  • Snails
  • Leeches
  • Worms
  • Snakes
  • Crayfish
  • Bird eggs
  • Nestlings
  • Birds
  • Mallards
  • Geese
  • Small mammals
  • Insects
  • Carrion

Plant Foods

Plants make up about a third of a snapping turtle's diet. The numerous aquatic plants a snapping turtle may eat include:

  • Leaves
  • Algae
  • Yellow pond lily
  • Common duckweed
  • Water lettuce
  • Water fern
  • Common arrowhead
  • Bog moss
  • Bog buttons
  • Water hyacinth
  • Mermaid weed
  • Hydrilla

Feeding Habits

Snapping turtles eat at dawn and dusk when they are most active. Their name is appropriate -- they grab their food with a quick snapping motion. Younger snapping turtles forage for food when need be, but older turtles lie in wait in the water to surprise their prey. When snapping turtles eat other turtles, they do so by biting their heads off first, which is hypothesized to be either inefficient feeding behavior or a method of protecting their territory.

Feeding a Pet Snapping Turtle

Do not overfeed snapping turtles -- they are prone to becoming obese. An adult should only be fed 2 or 3 times a week. A growing hatchling should be fed every day or every other day.

Animal foods for pet snapping turtles that are available at pet stores include crayfish, worms, ghost shrimp, insects, minnows and guppies. Snapping turtles can also eat chicken, turkey and beef heart. Don't feed hamburger; the fat content is too high. Feed a turtle two to three pieces of fish or meat at each feeding.

Plants that pet snapping turtles will eat and are available at pet stores include duckweed, water hyacinths and water weeds. They can also eat romaine lettuce, mustard greens and other leafy greens. Feed a turtle 4 to 5 leaves of greens at each feeding.

According to the World Chelonian Trust, many commercially prepared turtle foods can be an excellent part of a turtle's diet when given in combination with fresh animal and plant foods.

Feed your turtle outside the tank in a feeding tub. Because many turtles eliminate after eating, this will keep their tank cleaner. If you do feed the turtle in his tank, remove any uneaten food in a timely matter so the food doesn't spoil and foul the turtle's living environment.

Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • Florida Snapping Turtle Facts

    The scientific name for the Florida snapping turtle is Chelydra serpentina osceola, according to the Pelotes Island Nature Reserve. Florida snapping turtles...

  • What Are the Predators for Snapping Turtles?

    Snapping turtles are highly aquatic, omnivorous turtles that inhabit fresh and brackish bodies of water across North America. According to the "Encyclopedia...

  • How to Eat Softshell Turtles

    Snapping turtles and other types of soft shell turtles reside in rivers, creeks, streams, lakes and ponds. Fisherman and farmers can remove...

  • What Animals Eat Turtles?

    The word "turtle" typically includes tortoises, which live on land; terrapins, which inhabit fresh water; and turtles, which live in the sea....

  • What Do Freshwater Turtles Eat?

    Freshwater turtles eat fish, minnows, plants, leeches and many other foods. Learn about the diet of freshwater turtles, and why pet owners...

  • What to Feed a Baby Snapping Turtle

    People keep all kinds of animals as pets, and turtles are no exception. Snapping turtles are often found in ponds when they...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make an Elevated Dog Feeder

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!