Monday, July 9, 2012


My pet Snapping Turtle has reached the age of two years nine months.  Posts of Snappy as a hatchling and yearling are two of my most often viewed posts.  Baby Snapping Turtle is number one out of 18,215 search terms used by people to reach this blog.  Since there is so much interest in this topic, I thought it appropriate to provide an update on Snappy’s progress.

Snappy has prospered on a diet of prepared turtle pellets supplemented by live food items.  He associates movement with food and investigates any movement inside or outside of his aquarium.  Even though the glass cleaning sponge is too large to swallow, he keeps up with its movement back and forth across the glass.

I’ve never seen a captive snapping turtle that was as constantly active as Snappy.  In those rare instances when he pauses from prowling the tank, his head and eyes are still scanning for any signs of movement.

My plans are to construct an outdoor habitat that will house Snappy year round.  I had planned to have it completed by now, but because of the drought, the ground is too hard for me to dig the pool.  This project will stay on my todo list until we get some rain. 

When startled, Snappy tilts his shell to appear larger in the eyes of a potential threat.  In the wild, snapping turtle shells often develop a coating of algae and other debris.  I periodically clean Snappy’s shell with a soft bristled toothbrush.  Since he operates primarily on instinct, I don’t assume that he will recognize me as non-threatening.  I never allow any part of my fleshy self to get within range of those jaws.

Movement on the water’s surface causes him to adopt his ambush pose.  He ignores floating bubbles, but will come after anything that appears more substantial.

The attack is too rapid for my camera to capture.  Snappy doesn’t miss anything edible.

After eating, Snappy usually scouts around for anything that might have been missed.  He’ll be comfortable in this tank for a while longer, but I’d like to get him outside as soon as possible. 


  1. I think of snappers as villains in ponds where they snatch cute little ducklings, but he's actually a fascinating creature.

  2. Hi Pat. I've seen a few ducklings disappear at the jaws of a snapper. Snapping turtles are opportunistic feeders that will take advantage of anything that happens by.

  3. Hi Pat. I have a question I have a hatchling snapping turtle and he has something is think is algae on his neck area it is light in color and seems to be getting bigger it kind of floats in the water when he is not moving do you think this is algae or something else.thanks

  4. Hi Jason. What you are probably seeing is dead skin. As snapping turtles grow, they periodically shed layers of dead skin. The dead skin commonly hangs in clumps or strands from the neck and legs. As the turtle gets larger, the dead skin comes loose and floats about the aquarium and can be something of a mess.