Snapping Turtle Diet: What To Feed Your Snapping Turtles

Welcome to our ultimate feeding guide for pet snapping turtles. For you to read this is an indication that you want to know about snapping turtle diet. It’s always good to research what foods are best to feed to your pet animal and what foods to avoid if any.

This does not only prove that you’re a good keeper but also your love for your pet. Every exotic animal kept in captivity deserves ultimate care and proper dieting is a priority in its care requirements.

It is as important to the health and growth of your animal as a standard enclosure is. Having that in mind, why not read on to find out what foods to feed to your snapping turtles and how much of it to feed?

This article is designed to answer all snapping turtle’s diet-related questions. In the end, you’ll leave a better keeper that your pet is lucky to have. Read on!

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

What Do Snapping Turtles Eat In The Wild?

wild snapping turtle eating crayfish and shrimp
wild snapping turtles like to diet on a variety of fish, crayfish, and shrimps.

The two subspecies of snapping turtles (both common and alligator snapping turtles) are omnivores. This means that they eat animals, insects, plants, and fruits.

In the wild, these animals seem to enjoy hunting and feasting on animals than on vegetable plants and fruits.

They eat a variety of animals in the wild such as fish, crayfish, shrimp, snakes, spiders, worms, small turtles, frogs, birds, carrion, aquatic plants, small animals, and amphibians.

What Is The Perfect Diet For Captive/Pet Snapping Turtles?

A pet snapping turtle eating a live pinky mouse
A pet snapping turtle eating a live pinky mouse

For every category of living thing, a perfect snapping turtle diet is a balanced diet. A diet that contains all the nutrients the animal needs for survival and growth. For snapping turtles, they need large amounts of protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals for growth.

Good enough, the fact that they’re omnivores and the availability of a wide variety of foods assure that they can get these nutrients from their diet.

While any animal (meat) they eat is certain to give them protein and calcium, leafy green vegetables also provide tons of calcium to these animals.

Hence, except you aren’t offering your pet snapping turtles balanced diets, you shouldn’t have nutrient-deficiency related diseases to deal with.

That said, foods that make a perfect diet for your snapping turtles include: small animals (invertebrates), amphibians, dandelion greens, collard, shrimp, snakes, spiders, worms, fish, crayfish, small turtles, frogs, birds, carrion, carrots, cucumber, and aquatic plants.

Baby snapping turtles in the wild will eat small animals such as worms, small fish, shrimps, crayfish, and any other small animal/insect they can crush. In captivity, baby snapping turtles are better off on commercial foods.

When they grow to become juveniles or young snappers, they can eat commercial food alongside live fish, blood worms, crayfish, shrimp, and any other small animals they can eat with ease.

Adult snapping turtles eat live fish and all other foods mentioned so far in this article.

Last update on 2021-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Is The Best Commercial Food For Snapping Turtles?

There are a lot of commercial foods you’ll see out there. But knowing the perfect brand to buy for your pet snapper is always a challenge.

Needless to worry because experienced breeders such as I, are here to give you handy information to be able to make the best choice with ease.

Many experienced snapping turtle owners suggest Fluker’s Buffet Blend as the best commercial food for snapping turtles.

This food was made with turtles in mind and specifically for turtles. My common snapping turtles love it and I’m sure yours would.

Fluker’s Buffet Blend is a blend of quality foods to provide your pet snapping turtle a balanced diet at an affordable price. It has a nice irresistible scent that your turtles would love.

Therefore, without hesitation, you can join the family of over 610 happy users for a healthy snapping turtle.

Lastly, one important thing you should note is that Fluker’s Buffet Blend commercial food is good but it should not be their main food.

Commercial foods should only make about 25% of their diet and should be given with other live animal foods, greens, or fruits.

Snapping turtles also eat fruits and vegetables in the wild and these foods should be replicated in captivity
Snapping turtles also eat fruits and vegetables in the wild and these foods should be replicated in captivity

How Much Should I Feed My Snapping Turtle?

Did I mention that snapping turtles can eat a pig? The fact is, snapping turtles eat a lot. Keeping this in mind, how much amount of food should be enough or how much is too much?

We have seen many breeders underfed their pet snapping turtles and keep them in a controlled size because they followed a particular feeding plan they found online.

It would be misleading to give you a specific or certain quantity of food to feed to your snapping turtles at different ages. These animals just like humans differ from one individual to the other.

While my snapping turtle may have less appetite for food, yours may be a voracious eater. Hence, using my turtle as a model of how much food you should feed to your pet snapping turtle isn’t ideal.

Snapping turtles are heavy eaters. In this regard, I feed my snapping turtles as much as they want, provided that they keep accepting the food without wasting it.

As a breeder, I prefer to have my turtles develop into full-size turtles rather than controlling their sizes by regulating their meal.

That said, how much should you feed your snapping turtle? To accurately achieve this, feed your turtle as much as they can eat at the first time until they ignore the food.

When you’ve done this, record the quantity he had eaten and feed him that same quantity every other feeding time/day. Keep feeding your snapping turtles the same amount till they get to a bigger size and age.

When your turtle is no longer the age and size, repeat the approach to know how much food to feed them in the new age and size.

How Many Times Should I Feed My Snapping Turtles?

If you’re following the approach I used for my pet turtles as explained above, you wouldn’t want to power feed or overload your turtle. Overfeeding or feeding your turtles multiple times a day can cause regurgitation.

Except you’re feeding your snapping turtle sparingly, Feeding Once A Day Is Ideal. I feed my snapping turtles once a day and feeding time for me is the moment I enjoyed the most in their care.

How Long Can Snapping Turtles Go Without Eating?

Snapping turtles are one of the reptile species that survive for months without food. They can go as long as 6 months.

But this is usually during the winter season when the temperature isn’t favorable for the digestion of food.

In captivity, if it isn’t wintering season yet, do not deprive your snapping turtle of food for over a week.

Why Is My Snapping Turtle Not Eating?

A couple of factors can make your pet snapping turtle lose interest in food. Some of these factors may be normal but some are something you should get worried about.

Before you force your snapping turtle to eat, it’s important to figure out why it wasn’t eating in the first place. Changes in your husbandry such as choice of foods, feeding schedule, and stress can disrupt your snapping turtle’s appetite from 100% to 0%.

In this section, we’ll look at these factors that may make your pet snapping turtle lose interest in eating. They include:

Winter/Cold Season (Hibernation)

During the winter months when the temperature is extremely low and the water is typically cold, snapping turtles will slow down their metabolism in order to survive the period.

This is usually characterized by loss of appetite, sleepiness, and sluggishness. The reason for this slowdown in metabolism is because since they’re cold-blooded, they depend entirely on their environment to warm up and do other activities such as digestion.

Hence, when the water is typically too cold and they can’t properly digest their food, they would slow down metabolism (that is eat less or nothing) in order to survive the period.

This in a nutshell isn’t a factor to get worried about because, in the wild, they do experience this as well. However, the point you should worry about is when your turtles show these signs when it isn’t yet winter period.

If this happens when it’s not yet winter season, you need to evaluate your husbandry to ensure that your temperature isn’t below normal.

The truth is, in many cases, low temperature is always the reason for a sudden loss of appetite in snapping turtles. Sickness may be secondary.

Poor Hygiene

Don’t be surprised to know that even turtles will refuse to eat if their habitat isn’t kept clean. It is irritating to them as it is irritating to humans. Filthy or offensively smelly water will irritate them from eating.

This is a problem that simply would have been prevented by regularly cleaning out waste foods and poops from the aquarium. And also making sure that your filtration is working perfectly.

As stated earlier, before you could suspect disease to be the reason for its loss of appetite, ensure that you first evaluate your husbandry to rule out all these other factors.

Feeding The Wrong Food To Your Snapper

Your snapper wouldn’t eat the food if it isn’t appealing both to the sight and taste. The food you give to your snapping turtle must be what is on its food list in the wild or captivity. Avoid experimenting with foods on your pet turtle.

Nonetheless, should your turtle refuse to eat what is part of its food, you can make the food look appealing to him. For instance, you can shred into pieces the animal food or fruits you want to give it or soak the commercial pellets for a few minutes before giving it to him.

If your turtle still doesn’t eat, then check out for illness signs. Loss of appetite is often one of the first signs of sickness.


I did mention before in this article what could cause stress to pet snapping turtles. They include inappropriate enclosure size, cage set up, feeding it outside its enclosure, relocation/transportation, handling, or human factor.

If you wanted a pet you can put on your laps while watching a TV program then you shouldn’t have opted for a snapping turtle because they don’t like to be handled. When you get them out of the water against their will, they can be very agitated.

Providing a smaller-sized enclosure for a big turtle or not decorating the enclosure appropriately can cause stress and make the animal not want to eat. If you can eliminate all these stress factors, your snapping turtle should be up and eating again.


Sickness should be the last thing to check to ascertain why your snapping turtle is not eating. This is after you might have checked to rule out stress, poor hygiene, hibernation, and wrong feeding.

When you are sure the fault isn’t from your husbandry, it’s likely to be one or two diseases that need medical attention. Refer to this guide for a list of diseases, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.

Wrapping Up

Snapping turtles are wonderful animals to have around as pets. They have a unique personality that is not as monstrous as some writers make them look. They are mostly calm especially when they’re in the water.

Snapping turtles only act aggressively towards people if they feel threatened or if you feed them outside their terrarium. Therefore, if you have the habit of feeding your snapping turtle outside its aquarium, refrain from it.

As mentioned in the article, aside from the fact it’ll cause stress to them, they tend to respond or act aggressively when not in the water.

Lastly, to ensure that you don’t have troubling petting your turtle to eat, evaluate your husbandry on a regular basis and correct any inconsistencies to keep them healthy.

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