Pet Snapping Turtle Story with Pictures

The following story was forwarded to me from a guest on our site. This story was shared on the forum ssnakess.com. I usually don’t share things that people send us but this story… is different. This here is a pet snapping turtle that shows no aggression towards it’s owners. I am taken away by this story and plan on continuing to share it with my other friends in this niche.


Tank continues to impress me and everyone he meets.
The following 4 photos were take on Sept. 29 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Tonight while I worked on my laptop Tank woke up and stuck his head out from under his blanket. After a few moments I notice he was giving me a strange stare. It appeared he was looking at the top of my head. Then I realized he was looking at the head set I was wearing. I took it off and let his see it up close and smell it. He is such a curious turtle and very observant.
After that was done I spent some one-on-one time with him. We were as close to each other as the photo suggests. He is such a calm turtle.

The image of the owner putting his nose to the turtle’s nose just makes me cringe but I do believe that animals can sense when we are afraid of them and when we are not. I’m not sure if I believe this turtle to be one in a million that could do this or if it due to how the turtle is treated with affection since he was a small baby.. maybe the turtle feels the humans are it’s actual parents and refuses to show any aggression.. I’m totally stumped here. Back to the beautiful story.

Here’s Tank trying to get some cuddle time with my oldest (Emmyjo) she was busy doing homework. Tank still thinks he’s a pocket turtle. After that didn’t work he came over the back of the couch. I was ready for him as he doesn’t care if he falls or not.

Tonight I was just granted an exception to the “Dangerous Animal” code in my city.
The exception allows Tank to stay with me since he is used as an “educational” animal.
The vote was unanimous by the health dept.
I petitioned the city for the exception almost 3 months ago. After jumping through all the hoops it final.

TANK is a legal member of our family.

Update: Owner Has Found this Story Posted!!

Steve Gilfillan Commented:
I am the owner of Tank. I am a retired deputy sheriff and the single father of 5 kids.
We live in a modest home and our furniture is in very good shape 🙂 We all have our fingers and arms 🙂 I have been involved with turtles for most of my life but have never come across a snapping turtle like Tank. He was given to me as a near hatchling. He has always shown an interest in the world he lives in. He is potty trained(nothing I did) and has no more accidents then any good dog. He free-ranges our home and has access to his water 24/7. Some nights he chooses to sleep under the bookcase in the living room in his blankets.

I am well aware of what he is and have not lost sight of that. I have been bitten 5 times. Once was an inquisitive bite as a young turtle(1 lb). The other 4 times were feeding mistakes on my part(not paying attention) On those 4 occasions Tank released me immediately causing no injuries. I hand feed this 36 pound turtle and he goes out of his way not to bite me, none of that “blind biting” many turtles are noted for. If he comes looking for me and I’m not home or working in the basement he will run to me when he sees me, wanting to be picked up, I have learned much about these misunderstood turtles and find them intelligent. T

ank has learned hand signals for a few of our interactions. I have spent thousands of hours working with Tank and know there is more behind those eyes. More them eating, drinking, pooping and breeding. I hope this clears up some of the mystery about Tank and us.
Tank can be found on Facebook @Tank Gilfillan

What Do You Think? Anyone Jealous?



Janet Replied:
I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of having so much confidence in that creature. He could literally take your arm off with one bite I’m thinking… It scares me just looking at these pictures with the kids too. This man or trainer must be super good with animals because this is similar to a deadly animal like a lion or tiger as a pet. The turtle is on the couch! Haha what happens hen he decides to poop in the furniture and you have this huge mess to deal with.

Chris Replied:
I have a feeling this family doesn’t have the nicest furniture in the world but more or less lots of animals and pets. These are the kids that get to keep everything as as a pet and the entire neighborhood of kids like to hang out at this house. We all know that family with 40 pets and the wife is a bit crazy and can’t keep up with the kids or anything really.. I prefer my clean peaceful fish aquarium. Nobody gets hurt and I don’t have to clean up turtle waste the size of a sandwich.

Leroy Replied:
Oh come on Chris.. Lighten up a little. Just because it overwhelms you thinkin about taking care of that beast doesn’t mean you have to be a negative nancy about it. We all dream of having a pet this cool. Maybe not having it in the middle of my living room.. But still it’s completely awesome in all ways. I would make a little shed for him to live in with a water bath and stuff. I’m totally thinkin up some super cool turtle pen ideas. I can see a fish pond and a shed all to the family of turtles to use.

Ben Replied:
I dream of owning a pet snapping turtle every night of my life. I could train it to bite certain things and I would call him “hulk.” I would pay all the money in the world for this pet snapper (I have no money). Where is this genius man that taught this tortoise to be so awesome towards humans. I’m really in love with this man. The fact that he has a beard makes me know he is a true stallion. I would so sleep with the turtle as well. Does it poo in a litter box too? If it doesn’t ill just have my mom clean it up after I hypnotize her to do as I say. Ok now I’m dreaming, someone wake me up.

Levi Replied:
I wanna know what the turtle weighs as of today and if he has ever had any incidents where he has hurt anybody? Do you have a cat or does he feed the turtle live food or what? I have so many questions flooding through my mind I want to ask so bad. Who has the contact details of this man or a Facebook page on which I can read more on this?

Gina Replied:
He seems like the type of guy you would never find online. Maybe I’m totally wrong on this but he looks like a hippie kinda type and there is nothing wrong with that. Pet lovers that love the outdoors like this guy are so close to animals that it would blow our minds and that’s exactly what he is doing right now with this story of his pet snapping turtle. Wish I could meet him and tell him he is doing an awesome thing here.

7 Comments

    • Casey

      I have too! My best friend and I find snappers on the Side of the road. We always get out to put them in the lake. They aren’t very aggressive!

  1. Casey

    Honestly, turtles aren’t that bad. I have a red eared slider named Skipper-Dee she is very sweet. You have to interact with them. I’ve had her for 2 weeks, and she already lets me hold her and she sits on my lap and watches tv with me. People underestimate turtles.

  2. Amanda

    I love snapping turtles and all kind of turtles. The turtles that i have are sweet and fun to be around even the little snapper. We give them baths and let them walk around the house with the cats and dog and they are smaller then the cats and dog but they all get a long. When i saw these picture it made me think of my turtles and me. Thank you for sharing this story.

  3. Helen Tucker

    Jealous? You bet I am! What a wonderful beast and how lucky they are to have him in the family. If I knew how they did it, I would be ordering one right now to be honest. I am happy for all involved.

  4. Homer

    I have a common snapper that is about 5″ long right now, I have had him since he was a hatchling, his name is Shredder. After having him, they are just like any other turtle but if they dont want to be messed with they will let you know. I hand feed mine every night, he is very docile when feeding. If I drop food in tank for him, he will not eat it, I have to hold it. I handle him all of the time trying to get him so is isnt the “mean hand eater” that they are made out to be. When I get home and sit next to his house, he comes over and begs for me to take him out. my question to all that ask about the kids being close to his head is……… I see kids in the face of dogs ALL THE TIME, what is the difference???

  5. Hunter

    I have had a pet snapping turtle since I was 10 I am now eighteen these animals are misunderstood. people think they are vicious killing machines and they are not. my little guy “fatty” loves to come out and get a scrub and walk around I can only hope as he gets older and bigger that he is as calm as that turtle good to see people taking a stand against turtle stereotypes

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