How to Get Rid of Snapping Turtles

Dangerous, destructive and difficult to remove, snapping turtles cause vast amounts of damage to wild and cultivated fish populations. They also impose serious risk to people who live near snapping turtle infested areas, especially small children and pets. Removing snapping turtles from a pond or surrounding area is a simple yet painstaking process that requires a good pair of gloves.

Things You'll Need

  • Turtle trap
  • Bait
  • Fishing line
  • Empty plastic gallon sized containers
  • Heavy work gloves

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Removing Snapping Turtles With a Trap

Determine the locations frequented by the snapping turtles. In the afternoon, look for turtles sunning themselves either on fallen wood or rocks in a body of water, or on nearby embankments. In the early morning, you can find them around embankments as well, which give you an idea of where they prefer to enter the water. Once you know the turtles' preferred locations, you know approximately where to place the trap.

Purchase a turtle trap. Check with local sporting goods supply stores, feed stores and even your local animal control for traps. If you are unable to find any traps locally, consider looking to online stores for the right traps.

Bait your trap. Following the manufacturer’s directions, bait your turtle trap. Popular baits include raw chicken parts such as gizzards, necks and backs. Only provide enough bait to capture one turtle; additional bait will only spoil.

Set your trap. Choose a location either in the pond or on the surrounding land, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. Locations near the turtles’ preferred sunning areas tend to be more favorable.

Dispose of the captured turtles. Once you have caught a turtle, contact your local animal control. The officers can then advise you of your rights in your area for either humanely disposing of the turtle, or they can re-home the turtle to a new pond a safe distance from your own pond. Exercise caution when handling a captured turtle. Wear heavy gloves and avoid getting close to the turtle’s face.

Removing Snapping Turtles by Fishing

Prepare a fishing line and bob. Tie a length of fishing line to an empty, plastic one gallon container such as an empty milk jug. This serves as your bob. At the other end of the line, attach a simple hook. Fancy fishing hooks are unnecessary for catching turtles. Test your knots to make sure the fishing line is tied off tightly.

Bait your hook. Using chicken parts, bait your hook. Gizzards and other small organ meats are best suited to this process. Only use enough bait to capture one turtle to avoid waste.

Drop the fishing line and bob into the pond. Take the fishing device to the center of the pond, or as close to the center as you can get. The hook will fall straight down while the empty plastic container bobs on top of the water.

Check your fishing traps at least once per day. If you notice the trap has moved to the edge of the pond, or is moving as you watch it, chances are you may have caught your turtle. If not, simply reset the fishing trap to the center of the pond.

Dispose of the captured turtle. In the event you find that you have caught a turtle, remove it from the pond. To do this, wear a pair of heavy gloves and handle the turtle by its back end only. Simply pick up the turtle and relocate it to a pen, box or other type of container large enough to safely contain the turtle. Notify your local animal control department, and they can come remove the turtle from your property.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some snapping turtles grow to massive sizes. In the event that you have found one of these extra large turtles, notify your animal control department immediately, and do not attempt to engage the animal.


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