Petkeen advocates for adopting before shopping. We understand there are many reasons for seeking a breeder or purchasing from a store, though, so we encourage it to be done the right way. Learn more.
Snapping turtles aren’t the cuddliest pets you can own, but they’re definitely fascinating creatures to have around. They have aggressive personalities and don’t take kindly to being handled, plus they take some particular care to house and feed. Whether you’re new to reptiles or have some experience, it can be hard just to find a snapping turtle in the first place. To help you out, we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of where you can find your very own snapping turtle today.
Snapping Turtle as Pets: What to Know Before Welcoming One Into Your Home
Snapping turtles are best suited for experienced reptile owners because of their standoffish personalities, but newcomers can do well with them provided you have enough patience. Like other reptiles, snapping turtles need a particular habitat and diet to stay healthy and thrive, and that’s a little more complex than caring for, say, a cat.
The biggest thing to know is that you should not handle a snapping turtle, despite them being your pet. They’re not that type of pet; they’re more of a roommate you check in on and observe. But hey, at least you don’t have to walk a snapping turtle! Though their tank takes some work to set up and maintain, snapping turtles are fairly low maintenance.
Where to Adopt a Snapping Turtle
To be totally honest, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to find a snapping turtle up for adoption at your local shelter. Not many people have snapping turtles as pets, and those that do often buy them directly from a store or website because they can be so hard to find. However, that’s not to say you can’t find postings on social media about someone wanting to give theirs away. Still, you have to use extreme caution if going this route because you never know where this person got the snapping turtle from in the first place. For all you know, it could be a wild turtle.
Where to Buy a Snapping Turtle Online
Snapping turtles aren’t as popular as puppies or kittens, and you might face some trouble finding one near you. Prices tend to start at $25 on the low end for common snapping turtle babies and up to $60 or even $90+ for exotic alligator snapping turtles. There are relatively few breeders that deal in snapping turtles, but we’ve tracked a few down for you to check out at your leisure.
1. The Turtle Source
Based in Estero, Florida, the Turtle Source is one of the top reputable turtle breeders out there you can rely on. They have decent prices, you can’t beat next-day live shipping, and there are quite a few other turtles and turtle-related supplies, like food, that you can peruse while you’re considering a snapping turtle.
2. Loggerhead Acres Turtle Farm
Loggerhead Acres Turtle Farm specializes in alligator snapping turtles, providing an extensive guide on how to care for them and details on the shipping process. They’ll ship to any state with next-day live delivery through FedEx, but note that some states may require you to get a special permit before ordering. Loggerhead Acres also sells bundles of two to three turtles if you take a liking to them.
3. Backwater Reptiles
Backwater Reptiles have a huge variety of not only snapping turtles but also tortoises, snakes, lizards, toads, frogs, and more exotic creatures like scorpions. This site encourages orders from other breeders by advertising a flat $50 shipping fee no matter how many turtles or other reptiles you purchase. They offer a detailed schedule for when you can expect your order to arrive via FedEx or USPS.
How Much Do Snapping Turtles Cost in a Store?
Brick-and-mortar exotic pet stores that sell snapping turtles usually have higher prices than you’d see online. On the low end, expect to pay at least $50 and possibly $100 or more for a common snapping turtle. Alligator snapping turtles, for instance, can go for quite a bit more than that in physical stores. Higher prices are typically because of the associated costs and overhead of operating an exotic pet store.
Exotic Pet Stores That Sell Snapping Turtles
Exotic pet stores are much like reptile or turtle breeders, but they tend to offer a wider variety of exotic pets and invaluable supplies or food. These stores also have the notable advantage of having physical locations, though they offer shipping too. Check them out and pick out your new snapping turtle today.
Imperial Reptiles & Exotics is a one-stop-shop for any reptile lover whether online or in person. They sell not only snapping turtles but also tortoises, snakes, chameleons, and countless other unique exotic pets. They also offer an impressive selection of supplies for caring for all manner of exotic pets, plus some stylish merch for reptile lovers on the side.
2. Wild Things Exotic Animals Inc.
Wild Things Exotic Animals is another exotic pet breeder based in Florida, but they have exotic animals like hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and other unusual offerings you’ll love, and of course, plenty of snapping turtles! Wild Things is a family-owned and operated business with an immaculate facility and decades of experience breeding snapping turtles and other exotic pets.
Snapping Turtle Breeder Information
Snapping turtles don’t have fancy bloodlines like dogs or cats, and it’s not usually necessary to seek out a special breeder. That said, if buying from individuals or questionable businesses, it’s important to see their facilities by asking for a photo. If they refuse to provide pictures or answer follow-up questions, those are red flags.
Tips for Caring for Snapping Turtles
Snapping turtles are great for apartment dwellers or folks seeking an independent pet that doesn’t need physical handling. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned reptile owner, it helps to get a refresher on the most valuable things when it comes to snapping turtle care: your tank setup, diet, and environment controls. Let’s delve into those a little deeper below.
A 10-gallon tank is sufficient for the average snapping turtle, with the preferred substrate made of sand and potting soil. Substrate should make up half the tank at about 3 inches deep, while the other half of the tank should be fresh water. Snapping turtles are messy and produce a shocking amount of waste, so you’ll need to install an aquarium filter and keep up with changing the water every week or two.
Snapping turtles are carnivores that subsist on fish, tadpoles, minnows, frogs, and nearly anything small that dares move within snapping range. That said, about 30% of their diet is plant matter in the form of aquatic plants or veggies. You can feed your snapping turtle a diet of live fish, protein-rich insects like crickets or locusts, tadpoles, frogs, mollusks, and crustaceans.
The key is animal-based protein with a side of leafy water plants like water hyacinth and water ferns, or leafy veggies like romaine lettuce. Aquatic plants can be grown in your turtle’s tank for them to nibble on, or you can offer some with their regular meals of fish or insects.
Snapping turtles like it between 75–80°F in their tank, water included. Unless you live in a cold climate, you probably don’t need to add a heater. If you do, both an under-tank heater and perhaps a water heater would help regulate the temperature to your turtle’s preference. About 10-12 hours of regular lighting suffices for the lighting requirements since snapping turtles don’t need special UVB lights to thrive.
Though not as popular as kittens or puppies, there are a lot of choices when you want a snapping turtle. Snapping turtles aren’t a pet for everyone or anyone seeking a cuddle buddy, but they’re perfect for reptile lovers or those allergic to cats/dogs.
Featured Image Credit: Sista Vonjintanaruks, Shutterstock