How to Raise Snapping Turtles for the Food Market


Snapping turtles are large and powerful reptiles that are commonly raised for their meat in America and Asia. These sluggish beasts are carnivores that need plenty of space to grow and develop in a semi-aquatic environment. As long as you are cautious around the bone-crushing power of a snapping turtle's jaws, raising them for the food market shouldn't be too hazardous. Marx Foods sells five pound pails of snapping turtle meat for more than $150. Since the average turtle grows to around 17 inches and 45 pounds, you can potentially earn more money per pound of exotic turtle meat.

Things You'll Need

  • Large tank (20 gallons or more)
  • Turtle food
  • Outside enclosure
  • Fluorescent light or heat lamp
  • Tank filters
  • Sand
  • Set up a large tank holding 20 gallons or more of water to hold hatchlings for up to two years. A proper tank should have a dry sandy area for turtles to bask in to warm themselves.

  • Keep a UV fluorescent light or reptile heat lamp on in the tank to keep the turtles healthy. Reptiles need warmth from light for energy.

  • Move turtles to a larger enclosure when they reach 8 inches long. Large outdoor ponds and tanks are suitable for holding adult snapping turtles.

  • Feed snapping turtles a mixture of meat such as fish, turkey and chicken. Commercial turtle pellets and plant material including lettuce and mustard greens can be used to round out the animal's diet. Feed the turtles only high-quality ingredients to produce a higher quality meat. Serve food in small pieces because turtles have been known to choke to death on large chunks of food.

  • Clean the enclosures regularly to promote healthy turtles and quality meat for your future customers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact professional exotic meat dealers for information about selling the snapping turtles and their meat.
  • Do not handle these animals around pets or children. A snapping turtle bite can easily remove a finger.
  • When moving snapping turtles, grab them by the tail from behind the reptile's shell. This way, the dangerous, sharp jaws are pointed away from you.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images Fish fillet 01 image by andrus from
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