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Ultimate guide to the FL snapping turtle


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#1 Wazio

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 02:01 AM

Ok first, im not a total noob to keeping hard to care for herps. I have been a chameleon breeder for about 3 years now. I like the challenge of keeping an awesome pet. I think that a snapping turtle is one of them. The main problem is that I have not been able to locate any info on them that I can put to half good use. I have found things like: "a 20gal tank will last for a while" "put rocks in the bottom" "don't put rocks in the bottom" "feed 3 times a week" bla bla bla, stuff that is really to vague or contradicts itself to be any use to me. Sure, I could get one for $30 bucks off kingsnake and wing it, but that is not what I want to do. I would like to have the proper information to care for it before it arrives.

I would like to call upon the knowledge of you snapper keepers. If you were to make a sheet called "The Ultimate guide to the FL snapping turtle" what would it say? What to feed, tanks, water ect. . . (If you would like I could post a care sheet on my .com if we get enough info)

As for me, I plan on getting a baby FL snapping turtle, I would assume a small tank would be best at first till he grown into a new one, anybody have and sizes? 10, 20? And any tips that you could direct at me with a baby set-up / care would be great!

So, any help, tips, Etc would be great!!! Thanks a ton!

~Chad B)

#2 el tortuga

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 12:31 PM

:D Welcome to TT! I can't have snappers where I live so this is just a welcome. You are hardly a noob to herps if you breed long tongues. As a long time turtle keeper I'm very pleased to see you asking questions before jumping into the pond. :blink:

#3 archeolon

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 12:37 PM

aquatics need 10 gallon per inch plus 15-25% for the basking areas.. so a 5 inch turtle needs around a 55 or so :) that is all i know about snappers i only had a snapper for a while and i was babysitting him lol so i dont realy know much

#4 Shelly

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 02:38 PM

Hi, Chad!
Since no one else has jumped in, I'll give this a shot!
My turtle is a Chelydra serpentina serpentina, but I believe the care is similar.
I'm not an expert, but I can offer a short version of what I've gleaned the past 2 years.

A simple bare bottom tank is preferable.
Water deep enough to swim in, but shallow enough (in some areas) so the hatchling doesn't have to keep swimming to breathe.
Kingrattus will disagree, but I'd give them a place to hide out: plants, a plastic pots, you know the routine.

A basking area is important.
Some folks say snappers don't bask, but the hatchlings definitely will, and some adults will too, if an area is offered.

Hatchlings I would feed every day.
Reptomin or Mazuri pellets for aquatic turtles, crickets, trout chow, fish, chicken, pinkies, mice, ect.
I feed mine in a separate tank.
Cuts down on the mess in his 300 gallon stock tank.

These guys can grow fast.
They won't get as big as alligator snappers, but they grow more quickly.
They tend to be tough, healthy and can be as vicious.
Best pet I've ever owned! :)

Hope this helps!

#5 Goblue08

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 08:43 PM

Welcome! I am rehabbing a 12 inch common snapper temprarily right now and she surprised me with eggs! She won't stop laying them! It's crazy! I pick her up all the time and she only snaps when she is sleeping, or I move her around too fast. They are great pets though! Good Luck! :) :D

#6 Andy

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:57 AM

One thing that hasnt been touched on is the cage itself. I would strongly recomend a rubbermeid or preformed pond. Glass tanks look really cool, but these guys can get very aggresive when feeding, so there is the possibility of it breaking a glass tank.

#7 Shelly

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 09:10 AM

Good point, Andy!
Their claws are long, sharp, and backed by powerful legs.
The scratching could damage a glass tank and eventually cause it to break.

On "taming" a snapper at http://www.kyherpsoc...gturtlecare.htm
(bolding mine)

Chelydra serpentina makes a very hardy and adaptable captive if proper housing and care can be furnished. They are extremely suitable for outdoor keeping and can be cared for this way as far north as southern Canada. Despite common belief that all snapping turtles grow up to be aggressive, if handled frequently from a young age, they can become just as "tame" as many other water turtles. Although not the most personable as some of the more terrestrial chelonians, this specie makes a great display animal, and is very impressive in both size and habits.

If I was going to create an " Ultimate Guide to the FL Snapping Turtle", I'd add a personal editorial.
No doubt some folks have snapping turtles for the same reason some have pit bulls- shock value- with little concern about how to properly care of the animal.
Any animal in your care deserves a knowledgeable owner, proper diet and housing.
If you're looking to get a snapper solely to impress your buddies, DON'T.
The world already has too many abused animals.


#8 Wazio

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 07:04 PM

Cool, thank you for the tips guys. Anybody have more to add? As of now I would not be able to set up a stock tank as I am at college. I do have a small 12-15 gal tank and a 40 gal tank that I could set up though. What about some Tank size per age comments.. Such as: hatchling= 25gal, 1 year = 50gal, 2 year=100gal. Also, what about filters? Some say use them, some say water changes once a week.

Am I alone here or are snappers just the most awesome things around!!??! They are so ugly they are cute! Or is that so cute, they are ugly?!?! errrr


~Chad B)

#9 archeolon

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 07:28 PM

per age comments.. Such as: hatchling= 25gal, 1 year = 50gal, 2 year=100gal.


nope u cant say something like that because fdepending on temperatures and size of tank turtles grow at different speeds.. i have two that were born the same day but one is already 3 inches the other is only 2 and that is around 15 gallon difference... :) you need 10 gallons per inch of turtle plus 15-25% for basking area


what about filters? Some say use them, some say water changes once a week.


with a snapper you HAVE to have a filter(some may disagree) because they are just wayyyyyyyyyyyy too messy and most turtles dont like completely still water .... i think filters are a must

#10 Shelly

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 07:54 PM

Quick note on tanks- get the biggest tank you can afford to save buying many in between size tanks. (Thanks, Stan!)
Like archeolon said, there is no age = weight formula.
They can grow fast. My 2 year old is 8 pounds.
He's beautiful! :wub:

#11 LisaD

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 07:56 PM

nope u cant say something like that because fdepending on temperatures and size of tank turtles grow at different speeds.. i have two that were born the same day but one is already 3 inches the other is only 2 and that is around 15 gallon difference...  :)  you need 10 gallons per inch of turtle plus 15-25% for basking area

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This IS a snapping turtle question. [shades] Where do you get your information from? :unsure:

#12 archeolon

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 12:33 PM

hi lisa! i thought that turtles grow at different speeds? or am i imagining it :hides:

here : http://www.chelydra....wth_charts.html

scroll down .. :) srry i forgot to add the link

#13 kingrattus

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 01:04 PM

Guess who :)

Yes I dissagree with Shelly on the hiding issue
Hiding Place = Fear, Fear = Snapping. No Hiding Place = Calm, Calm = No Snapping

You also need to give the turtle plenty of attention as a hatchling, or this wont work at all.

Also a good diet is important & also the amount.
Shelly, so u still have that feeding chart I made up in a PM I sent u? I lost my copy & really don't want to type ALL that up again.



When Axle (my snapper) reached 10 pounds, I started him on vitamins. He only had 1 meal once a week, so I was able to give him 1 adult Centrum Vitamin/Mineral pill (1/week max. at 10 pounds+).

Axle has a birth problem & just needs extra calcium then normal. But its a good idea to put Snappers on a Vitamin pill because its sometimes super hard to tell if they are getting enough untill its too late.


Tank size.

As a hatchling-yearling, Axle was in a 20g with log & light to bask. Once I moved out, I bought 160g pond & hes been in that for the past 4yrs. He is now 20p & is happy as can be. Plenty of swimming space & 2 underwater ledges to relax/sleep on. Axle will not bask. But he gets out of the pond when ever he wants to (hes not supose to).

I try to always keep goldfish in his pond. With the 1 feeding a week, it forces him to chase after some food & it helps him from getting fat & weak.
When I take him outside, hes out fot about an hour or 2 & then will tour the house for several more hours, untill I get tired of him moving things around (80p weights, chairs, coffee table, the dogs, my feet, dog beds, shoes & whatever else he gets into.
Snappers can stay out of water for days. but as a pet, I wouldn't do it to him (the females can/do walk for miles/days to find the perfect nesting spot). So don't worry when u take the snapper outside for a walk, no harm, unless its too hot or too cold (if ur too hot, its too hot for the snapper & I don't take him outside below 10C.

However I don;'t know if the temp/outside thing applies to FL Snappers. But Axle is a Common Snapper & hes Canadian (here the weather gets to -40C with a windchill of -50C to, +40C with a humidex of +42C (we had a 2 month heat wave & it was hotter then CA & FL, with the Humidex) & our Wild Snappers do just fine.

#14 Wazio

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 11:41 PM

B) thanks for that post it answered alot of questions.

Which brings up another topic. Alot of you seem to have large ponds that I see at places like homedepot, lowes, or other outdoor/garedn type stores. They have all of them that I have ever seen are set up outside. How do you all set up a large pond / tank and still have an area that looks good, not like a giant can full of water in the corner?

Andbody have any good pictures of their setups?

~Chad B)

#15 Shelly

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 04:03 AM

How do you all set up a large pond / tank and still have an area that looks good, not like a giant can full of water in the corner?

LOL! That's exactly what I have! :lol:

#16 Millerlite

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 08:58 AM

I have a question dont snappers get huge? I thought they were the largest aquatic turtle in the world. So i think you should go with a preformed pond or a stock tank or something like that. A snapper will out grow a 40 gal. or break it what ever comes first.

#17 Shelly

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 10:45 AM

I have a question dont snappers get huge? I thought they were the largest aquatic turtle in the world.

Alligator snappers are among the largest freshwater turtles.
They have reached as much as 300 pounds.

From Chelydra.Org on the growth of common snappers:
"The snapping turtles are famous for their appetite.They eat a lot and they become big soon, especially in captivity.

The most intense growth rate is observed in young snapping turtles. An average common snapper will become about 5 to 6 inches ( 12 to 15 cm ) in shell length by about 2 years of age. Then the size gain slows down a bit, but its steady growth brings the snappers to about 12 to 14 inches ( 30 to 35 cm ) in 15 to 20 years.

The size of a snapping turtle or any turtle is not determined by age alone. Some snappers, kept in the same environment, will grow faster than others. As an example, one of my captive common snapping turtles reached 5 inches ( 12 cm ) in 1 year, but another specimen from the same tank just 3.5 inches ( 8 cm ) in the same amount of time. After 2 years the larger turtle was 6.5 inches ( 16 cm ) and the smaller was 5.5 inches ( 13.5 ).

It is said they can reach up to 19 inches ( 45 cm ) in shell length and weigh up to 86 pounds ( 39 kg ) ( 1979, Pritchard Enc. of turtles ). It seems that the Florida snapping turtle - Chelydra serpentina osceola - grows slightly larger then the other species in this group."


#18 archeolon

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 11:24 AM

thats huge!! :o

#19 kingrattus

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 07:11 PM

hmmm I guess Axle didn't read the Manual, when it said, 12 to 14 inches ( 30 to 35 cm ) in 15 to 20 years. Axle is not far from a foot long & he just turned 5.. ooo why did I have to find a cute fast growing monster heheh

#20 DaSnapperMan

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 02:04 PM

If I was going to create an " Ultimate Guide to the FL Snapping Turtle",  I'd add a personal editorial.
No doubt some folks have snapping turtles for the same reason some have pit bulls- shock value- with little concern about how to properly care of the animal.
Any animal in your care deserves a knowledgeable owner, proper diet and housing.
If you're looking to get a snapper solely to impress your buddies,  DON'T.
The world already has too many abused animals.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


THANK YOU! finally somone cares!

For info on a snapper, go to The snapping turtle page




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