Rescue / shelter organization
Ohio, United States
Posted Aug 22, 2015
Snapping turtles are a poor choice for a pet due to their attitude, size, and requirements. They can easily harm you as adults with their powerful jaws and aggressive behavior. Most pet snapping turtles are found as hatchlings outside - if you see a baby snapping turtle outside, leave it be! I was bite twice by my snapping turtle and they deliver a painful bite and don't like letting go. They can easily bite off a finger or toe.
Due to their size, they require a huge enclosure. A small pond is minimum for an adult. They can get to 50+ pounds! As they are native in many places across North America, they are illegal to own as pets without permits.
Cleaning their enclosure is difficult and will require a strong filter. Their feces are messy and can carry salmonella so when cleaning, gloves must be used and be extremely cautious not to get any water in your eyes or in any scabs or cuts!
The snapping turtles I have worked with readily take any food dropped into their enclosure and are aggressive eaters. Prey is quickly torn apart. Fish and mice are good choices for food to give them and watching them eat can be entertaining.
Overall, these turtles are not good in captivity but can also be fun to watch and if you are someone who is willing to put in the work for these animals, they can be rewarding to keep.