Snapping Turtle Nutrition? Best Practices?

Question: How many different types of snapping turtles are there and what so they eat? I’ve been wondering how snapping turtles eat since they have that very powerful bite down jaw. Is the jaw used mainly for hunting or is it mainly a defense mechanism against predators? I love researching animals and I hope someone can help me answer my question. Thanks in advance for the help.


*Best Answer Award
Posted by Jessica K:
snapping turtleYou would expect the snapping turtle to be some violent predator that attacks it’s prey like an alligator but it’s simply not the case. Turtles are known to be fairly lazy when it comes to getting their next meal. You gotta figure they are always lugging around their heavy shell and it wears on their stamina at times. Snapping turtles are omnivores and that means they eat both meat and plants. They prefer live foods like small fish, frogs, and insects. They will also consume green plants and vegetation when given the opportunity. They are what I like to call “opportunist” hunters.

A turtle will take advantage of an “already dead” meal too from time to time. You gotta understand that hunting and catching prey with a big shell attached to you is tough. I don’t think snapping turtles are lazy when it comes to hunting but more on the ‘smart’ side of things. Taking advantage of all meals available is important to snapping turtles.


Some snapping turtles like the Alligator snapper are more aggressive hunters. Their tongue is literally shaped like a worm and when prey come into eat “the worm” the snapper bites down. The Alligator snapper has it a bit easier than other snappers. Constantly baiting in prey with its worm tongue can be a huge advantage. On top of having a worm like tongue, the shell of the alligator snapper is highly camouflaged. The shell is almost textured like the outside of a tree with bark. Their appearance can make them disappear on the murky bottoms very easily. Magnificent creatures to say the least.

Posted by Jason R:
I think it’s very important to touch base on the difference between having a pet snapping turtle and what they actually eat when they are out natural habitat. Because you don’t want just let your turtle eat a dead fish that has been sitting in the tank. This might give people the wrong idea on how they should feed their pets snapping turtle because it’s totally different when they’re sitting in a cage and you’re trying to keep their habitat clean. If you have a pet snapping turtle you’re going to want to feed them live food as much as possible and get rid of any of the life food that happens to die inside of the cage because it heavily pollutes the water at a rapid pace.

Posted by Brandie J:
I was wondering if any of you had any problems with having pet cat fish inside of your turtle aquarium. It seems like if I had a catfish it might help keep the bottom of bit cleaner as far as my aquarium and having fish with the turtles. The resource link here.. I’m curious on this to see if anybody has any further information on keeping catfish with the turtles.

Posted by Shawn E:
It seems kind of awkward to think about a snapping turtle actually eating stuff because some of the miles are very weird shaped and we never really see you eat out in the public eye. It’s pretty funny that you say that they are kind of lazy kind of reminds me of myself when I’m trying to get off the couch when there’s an old slice of pizza sitting on my coffee table that’s been there for days and the turtle might do the same type of thing with the dead fish.

Posted by Erick P:
The scenario and mother nature is a little different than you sitting on your couch just because the turtle has a shoot shell that is attached to it and it is somewhat of a burden for them to hunt for the next pray. It would somewhat be the equivalent of you sitting on your couch but we strapped a huge rock to your back and told you to go cook a pizza if you want to compare it to that same scenario.

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