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Where To Buy a Snapping Turtle in 2021? (Breeder List & Tips)

Hallie Roddy

Pet Keen advocates for adopting before shopping. We understand there are many reasons for seeking a breeder, though, so we encourage it to be done the right way. Learn more.

Turtles, in general, are a common pet for reptile lovers. Snapping turtles, on the other hand, aren’t for the faint of heart. Snapping turtles have a diet that consists of about 60% vegetables. However, they also eat live fish, worms, and animals. They also live for several decades, grow surprisingly large, and aren’t afraid to take a bite at you. Despite all of this, it is still possible to keep a snapping turtle as a pet. Some people even claim that they make some of the best pets they’ve ever had. So, where do you buy snapping turtles here in the United States? You have quite a few options.

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Snapping Turtle Breeders Near Me in the United States

Buying a snapping turtle isn’t the same as buying a puppy. It’s not likely that you’re going to walk into a PetSmart and bring home a snapping turtle. There are a few things you can look out for to know you’re dealing with a reputable breeder.

Understand that reputable snapping turtle sellers are going to respond to you quickly. The best breeders are willing to discuss their daily routines and how they care for the said turtles when they bred or collected them. They aren’t always open to selling pictures of the hatchlings because of how time-consuming it is. However, there should be at least a couple of photos available to view online.

Look for breeders who are willing to offer a live-animal guarantee. Turtles are commonly shipped through a delivery service. Most of them will not ship out animals if there is a weather delay or a chance the animal will get delayed over the weekend.

small snapping turtle
Image Credit: Scottslm, Pixabay

Popular Online Turtle Breeders

1. Turtle And Tortoises Inc.

Turtles and Tortoises Inc

  • Florida

Turtles and Tortoises is a hatchery located on sixty acres in central Florida. They have over 200 ponds and 10,000 square feet of temperature-controlled breeding facilities. They have worked as breeders for over 30 years and breed a wide range of turtles, including snapping turtles.

2. The Turtle Source

turtle source logo

  • Florida

This hatchery has bred turtles for over three decades and has worked with places like Florida’s Fish and Game Commission on turtle issues. They also served on the animal industry council for the Florida Department of Agriculture. They are an award-winning breeder with an excellent variety to choose from.

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Medium and Small-Scale Turtle Breeders

1. Turtle Towns

Turtle Towns logo

  • Pensylvania

Turtle Towns is a medium-scale turtle breeder that works solely with this reptile. They strive for quality in everything they do and guarantee only 100% healthy, live animals. Located in Pennsylvania, this is an excellent breeder if you live near the Midwest or East Coast.


2. Tortoise Town

tortoise town logo

  • New Jersey

Tortoise Town is an online tortoise dealer based out of New Jersey. They have a wide selection of snapping turtles at tortoises to choose from at a fair price. They also sell care sheets, supplies, and have a blog full of advice for first-time reptile owners.

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Snapping Turtle Breeders That Ship

It is more common to find turtle breeders that ship than those that don’t. Unless you are going directly to a reptile or turtle shop, you are most likely going to purchase your turtle off the Internet. Always look over the seller’s shipping policy and read it carefully. If they don’t offer a live-animal guarantee, then this is a major red flag, and you should avoid purchasing from them. Because there are so many places that ship live reptiles now, a reputable breeder is going to avoid sending their reptiles if there is a chance they won’t make the journey.

Snapping Turtle
Image credit: Sista Vonjintanaruks, Shutterstock

How Much Does a Snapping Turtle Cost?

Reptiles aren’t expensive to purchase if you’re on a budget. It costs most people between $50 and $100 to bring home a common Alligator Snapping Turtle. Of course, this price goes up or down depending on factors like where you live, who you buy it from, the origin of the eggs, and the type of snapping turtle you want to have. Some snapping turtles cost well into the $3,000 range. And this is only the upfront price.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a snapping turtle, don’t forget that there are extra costs associated with owning any pet. Snapping turtles need a good supply of food and water, as well as a tank, basking rocks, vegetation, vet trips, and tank cleaning supplies.

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Things to Ask a Snapping Turtle Breeder

Don’t trust any turtle seller that you meet on the Internet. You want to work with someone knowledgeable about the animals and open to discussing anything from their history and the way they were raised. Here are some common questions to ask a snapping turtle breeder:

  • Are your adult turtles wild-caught, captive-bred, or long-term captive?
  • When did the hatchlings hatch?
  • Did you breed the hatchlings, or are you reselling them?
  • How long have you had the turtles?
  • What has the turtles’ habitat and care been like?
  • What do your turtles eat?
  • Have your turtles had any health issues in the past or currently?
  • Are you willing to send pictures of the turtle?
Snapping Turtle
Image Credit: Sebartz, Shutterstock

4 Things to Know Before Buying a Snapping Turtle

There are a few things that you should know about snapping turtles before you decide to keep one as a pet. These turtles are not the same ordinary turtle you buy in a pet store. They are wild animals that need a specific habitat compared to other aquatic turtles. They are a commitment and could live for up to 50 years in captivity. Never release a captive snapping turtle into the wild for any reason. Instead, seek out a turtle rescue or someone who is willing to adopt them. Here are a few necessities to know for when you bring one home:


1. Tank Set-Up

The turtle’s tank is the most important aspect to consider. Snapping turtles don’t need a lot of space when they are still juveniles. However, they quickly outgrow their enclosures, and many people must have at least a 10-gallon tank to start. Over time, some may have to switch to a 50-gallon tank based on their growth rate.

Snappy turtles are messy animals. You’ll also have to buy a proper filtration system and water depth for the tank. Even though they aren’t picky about temperature, it should be kept between 75°F and 85°F.


2. Diet

How do you plan to keep a snapping turtle alive if you don’t feed them the right balance of food? Snapping turtles are omnivores and require a diverse diet of vegetation, turtle pellets, and live animals.


3. Behavior

Reptiles are not the pet for everyone. Snapping turtles especially have a unique set of behaviors that not all hobbyists can easily handle. These turtles are known for attacking their owners when they feel threatened. They are not animals that like to be held. Only purchase one if you can accept that you’ll have to admire them from a distance most of the time.


4. Tankmates

Do not give your snapping turtles any tankmates because they will most likely eat them. Snapping turtles are known for eating fish, other reptiles, and even some small mammals. They prefer to live in solitude and will not get along well with other animals.

common snapping turtle
Image Credit: Bernell MacDonald, Pixabay

 

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Conclusion

Snapping turtles are a little unorthodox but still make excellent pets for reptile hobbyists. Regardless of where you decide to buy your turtle, make sure that you are purchasing from someone with a good reputation that guarantees a healthy animal upon delivery.


Featured Image Credit: Brian E Kushner, Shutterstock

Hallie Roddy

Hallie has been a proud nature and animal enthusiast for as long as she can remember. She attributes her passion for the environment and all its creatures to her childhood when she was showing horses on weekends and spending her weeknights devoting her attention to her pets. She enjoys spending most of her time in Michigan playing with her two rescue cats, Chewbacca and Lena, and her dog, Clayton. When Hallie isn’t using her degree in English with a writing specialization to spread informative knowledge on pet care, you can find her snuggled up on the couch reading books or watching nature documentaries.