Snapping Turtles For Kids Facts: Are Snapping Turtles Good For Kids? 5 Things You Must Know

Snapping turtles are large species of turtles. Young snapping turtles are calm and docile but as they grow bigger in size they tend to be very aggressive and could cause great harm when they feel threatened. They have powerful jaws that can snap off one’s finger with a single bite.

Although snapping turtles are widely spread and commonly kept as pets by experienced pet enthusiasts, they are not sociable and would always want to be alone. They are usually very eager to attack anyone who tries to get close. For that reason, kids should not be allowed to go near them.

This article “Snapping Turtles For Kids Facts” contains important truths about snapping turtles for kids. Here, you will be enlightened on what you should know when getting a snapping turtle as a pet in your home where there are kids. 

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Cute Reptiles as Pets

Snapping Turtles For Kids Facts: Are Snapping Turtles Good Pets For Kids?

Snapping turtles are not good pets for kids. They look calm and docile while they are young, but maybe very harmful when they grow to an adult stage. Snapping turtles are usually very aggressive when they feel threatened and will not waste time to launch an attack at you or anything that gets closer to them.

snapping turtles kids facts
While kids can handle snapping turtles when they yet hatchlings, adult snappers should be kept out of the reach of kids.

Snapping turtles have long sharp claws, sharp beaks, with powerful jaws as their weapons of defense. They will use their beak-like jaws to snap at anyone who tries to get close or maybe try to pick them up inappropriately. They have long, stretchy and flexible necks that can get over their backs to attack any threat from behind.

Leaving your kid with an adult snapping turtle is not a good idea at all as that can lead to a big disaster. Kids are naive and they wouldn’t know how to handle an adult snapping turtle and as such might get bitten. They should rather admire them from a distance or with an adult’s supervision.

15 Facts About Snapping Turtles

Below are some facts about snapping turtles that will help you know these animals better and also help you decide if they are really good pets for your kids.

What Are Snapping Turtles?

Snapping turtles are large aquatic turtles that live in slow-moving large bodies of water where they can hide and hunt for food. They are quiet and solitary animals that would prefer to live alone. They could get very aggressive and defensive when they feel threatened and stressed.

There are two types of snapping turtles: the alligator snapping turtles and the common snapping turtles. 

Since When Did Snapping Turtles Exist? Is It The Same Era With Dinosaurs? 

Snapping turtles are replicas of the earliest turtles that had been in existence for the past 200 million years ago even before dinosaurs came into existence. Dinosaurs later emerged 100 million years after the existence of the earliest turtles.

Thereafter, both dinosaurs and the earliest turtles coexisted for some million years more before the disastrous asteroid struck the earth and wiped off dinosaurs, while turtles survived the catastrophe and continued to live on till today.

What Do They (Snapping Turtles) Look Like?

Snapping turtles have nearly round shells that cover their backs. They are mostly black, dark brown, or tan in color. Their tails are thick, long, and scaly like that of an alligator. They have a beak-like mouth with powerful jaws but have no teeth.

what an adult common snapping turtle looks like
what an adult common snapping turtle looks like

Snapping turtles have small plastrons that cannot accommodate their whole body, because of this they are not able to withdraw themselves inside to hide when they are faced with a threat, and so this makes them very aggressive and defensive. 

photo showing the plastron, head and limbs of a common snapping turtle
photo showing the plastron, head and limbs of a common snapping turtle

What Do Snapping Turtles Eat?

Snapping turtles eat a variety of food consisting of both plants and animals since they are omnivores. They feed on food such as fish, crayfish, frogs, insects, snakes, worms, ducks, and water plants.

In the wild, snapping turtles hunt by quietly hiding in the mud with their mouths wide open, they would wiggle the worm-like appendage to attract prey. Once a prey comes to have a bite of what looks like a worm, they would quickly snap and eat the unfortunate prey.

Where Do Snapping Turtles Live? 

Snapping turtles inhabit slow-moving freshwater bodies such as ponds, streams, lakes, creeks, and rivers. In these habitats, they spend most of their lives in swampy areas and are also found in the muddy bottom of freshwater bodies during their mating period. The female snapping turtles only come on land when they want to lay eggs.

Snapping turtles are native to North America and can be found in these regions: Southeastern Canada, Florida, Mexico and Texas, and other parts of the United States.

How Much Do They Weigh?

Adult snapping turtles in captivity can weigh up to 90 lb if they are well fed and taken care of. The Alligator snapping turtles are usually larger than the common snapping turtles.

The largest alligator snapping turtle caught in the wild weighed up to 218 pounds, which is 98.883 kilograms. The male snapping turtles are also about 10 Ib weightier than the females. 

How Long Are They?

An average adult snapping turtle’s shell measures about 8 to 18 inches. However, in some cases, most alligator snapping turtles are usually longer than the common snapping turtles,  measuring up to 20 inches long. Snapping turtles also have long thick tails that measure the same length as their shell. 

How Many Snapping Turtles Are There In The World?

The total number of snapping turtles in the world is not known. This is because snapping turtles tend to lay clutches of eggs and reproduce in mass, increasing their population in thousands.

However, there are certain factors that threaten the survival of these turtles such as being preyed upon by other animals in the wild and also being haunted by humans for food.

Who Do Snapping Turtles Live With?

Several other animals can be found in snapping turtles’ habitats. Animals such as fishes, frogs, snakes, shrimps, toads, and many others. These other animals make up for snapping turtles’ food in the wild.

However, although snapping turtles do not cohabit (live together in the same spot) with other snapping turtles or other species of sea turtles, more than one snapping turtle can be found in one body of water.

This is of course dependent on the availability of food in the water (habitat) and how big the water is.

How Long Does A Snapping Turtle Live?

Snapping turtles are long-lived animals. They have an average lifespan of 30 to 40 years. In the wild, their actual life duration is not certain since they are most susceptible to attack.

Meanwhile, in captivity, if they are well taken care of, snapping turtles can live up to 50 years and above. There are some cases where some of them survive for as long as 80 to 100 years.

Is The Spawning Snapping Turtle Like A Normal Turtle?

Spawning snapping turtles are as normal as every other turtle. Like every normal turtle, snapping turtles come out of the water during summer to dig multiple nests and lay several clutches of eggs. The more eggs they lay the more they increase the chances of hatchlings surviving to adulthood.

Are Snapping Turtles Smart?

Snapping turtles are known to be slow-moving animals, especially when they are out of the water. But they are very smart when they are about to catch prey, you’ll see them launch a quick sudden attack with an amazing speed. 

That is why one has to be careful when handling a snapping turtle because they are always very calculating, looking for that moment you will lose guard so that they will attack. 

Are They Dangerous? Do Snapping Turtles Bite?

Snapping turtles are not always dangerous. They are rather gentle and quiet but only tend to be aggressive when they feel they are in danger or stressed. This happens mostly when they are pulled out of the water and when they are not given the privacy they deserve.

How snapping turtles hunt in the wild [source: Sky Animals]

Can A Snapping Turtle Escape Its Shell?

It is IMPOSSIBLE for snapping turtles to come out of their shell. That shell is a necessary part of the turtle that must not be detached or else the turtle dies. 

The shell and plastron of a snapping turtle are much more than a casing because its ribs and backbone are strongly attached to the shell together with the body. If the shell is accidentally injured and not repaired immediately, that turtle will surely die.

What Is Their Conservation Status?

Snapping Turtles are one of the species of animals that are considered as being endangered and threatened with extinction. This could be caused by factors such as degradation of habitat, overexploitation, and predation.

Although these turtles have proven to be survivors of several previous extinction periods that wiped out other ancient animals due to their vast reproduction. But if nothing is being done to make sure that this species is preserved, their chances of being alive in the nearest future is slim.

FAQs

What Are Some Fun Facts About Snapping Turtles?

* There are two types of snapping turtles in the world: the alligator snapping turtles and the common snapping turtles. The alligator snapper is considered the largest species of turtle in the world and can weigh up to 249 pounds.

* Snapping turtles can produce a hissing sound like a snake when they feel threatened or stressed.

* Unlike other species of turtles, snapping turtles have small shells and plastrons that don’t allow them to retreat into their shells to protect themselves when they sense an encounter. That is why they get all aggressive towards anything or anyone that approaches them in a way to defend themselves.

* Although the alligator snapping turtles look more fierce, vicious, and tough than the common snapping turtles, the common snapping turtles tend to be more aggressive and quick to launch an attack than the alligator snapping turtles.

* Even with their powerful claws, snapping turtles don’t use them for attack because they don’t really have strength in their legs to grip firmly on anything.

* They usually move faster in water than on land. 

* Snapping turtles have a swimming speed of 20 to 22 mph, unlike other turtles. This is against the belief that they are slow-moving animals.

* Female snapping turtles can store up sperm in their bodies for up to three years.

Do Snapping Turtles Live In Water?

Snapping turtles are aquatic animals and so they live mainly in water. They are found in the muddy bottom of freshwater and brackish water.

Only the females are mostly seen on land when they are ready to lay eggs. The males can come out occasionally to bask in the island and then get back into the water.

How Old Do Snapping Turtles Live?

Snapping turtles can live for about 30 to 40 years in the wild. But those in captivity have the chance to live longer up to 50 years and above. This is because snapping turtles in the wild are more vulnerable and exposed to threats than those in captivity.

What Climate Do Snapping Turtles Live In?

Snapping turtles can survive in both cold and hot climates. They have the ability to adapt to any climate condition they find themselves in. Most of them prefer a moderate temperature that is not too hot and too cold.

Wrapping up

Snapping turtles are gentle and calm aquatic reptiles that are commonly kept as pets. Snapping turtles are non-sociable, they always want to be left alone and as such do not like to be handled.

They can get aggressive and dangerous when you want to bring them outside of the water and touch them all the time.

Although snapping turtles make great pets, BUT CERTAINLY NOT FOR KIDS, you need to keep them at a safe distance away from kids. They can be admired with the supervision of an adult so they will not get tempted to touch them and get bitten.