Prior to bringing home an Alligator Snapping turtle, it is vital to understand the responsibility that comes along with it. These turtles can reach a very large size, which may be more than you are ready for. It is common for people to bring these turtles home, not knowing what they are getting themselves into. This results in the turtles being abandoned. If you have heavily weighed the responsibility of caring for one of these turtles, this care guide will assist you in properly caring for your turtle.
Alligator Snapping Turtles
Alligator Snapping turtles get very large. The average size is 15 to 26 inches. However, the largest of these turtles on record was nearly 32 inches. Their average weight is between 35 to 150 pounds. The heaviest of these turtles was a reported 316 pounds.
This turtle is recommended for experienced turtle handlers only. It is not for beginners. The Alligator Snapping turtle is the largest and heaviest fresh water turtle in the world. For this reason, beginners should not care for these turtles.
These turtles are mainly native to the gulf states and are best kept alone if kept in captivity. In order to keep this turtle at home you will need at least an 800 gallon stock tank or large pond. For these turtles to feel comfortable in their surrounding, they require a lot of water. In their natural habitat they thrive in deep rivers, lakes, swamps, and canals. A habitat should mimic these environments.
Water temperature should range from 75 to 80 degree Fahrenheit and air temperature should be in the low 80’s. Filtration systems for these habitats need to be of high quality or the water will need to be change very often.
Diet for Alligator Snapping Turtle
Alligator Snapping turtles have a diet much different than most turtles. In their natural habitat, these turtles feed off of snakes, frogs, fish, clams, and other turtles. They also eat aquatic plants in the area. While in captivity, these turtles typically eat live fish, such as guppies, minnows, and crawfish. They should also be given cooked chicken, game fish, mice, rats, and chicks. You must also offer them fresh vegetation, as well as commercial turtle food.
Bringing home an Alligator Snapping turtle is a decision that requires much thought and special consideration. It is vital you make sure you can fully handle the responsibility prior to getting one of these turtles. If you should happen to bring one home and later realize the task is too large for you, make sure you take the turtle to a turtle sanctuary or another place that can properly care for the turtle. Do not release the turtle into the wild!
“Alligator Snapping Turtle” AustinsTurtlePage.com
“Alligator Snapping Turtle” NationalGeographic.com