Alligator Snapping Turtle Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common NameAlligator Snapping Turtle, Alligator snapper
Scientific NameMacrochelys temminckii
Captive LifespanMore than 20 years
SizeAn average of 26 inches (adults)
MassAbout 220 pounds (adults)
HabitatBrackish wetlands, marshy fields, freshwater river beds
Country of originNorth America

Physical Description

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The Alligator snapping turtle is the only one of its kind to share a genetic background with Carbonemys cofrinii, the extinct prehistoric alligator snapping turtle species ancestor.

Because of its immensely strong jawbones and the colossal size, an adult alligator snapping turtle can reach, it is fully capable of literally crushing other turtle species.

With their distinct, primitive-looking appearance, accentuated by a spiky shell, alligator snapping turtles are commonly referred to as dinosaur-like or the dinosaur of the turtle world.

The alligator snapping turtle can attain an average length of 1.1 – 2.5 ft. An adult alligator snapping turtle usually weighs about 45 – 175 Ib.

Male alligator snapping turtles are typically larger than females, which is a phenomenon explained by the species’ sexual dimorphism. Apart from the size, the position of the cloaca in male vs. female alligator snappers also varies.

It is thanks to the rugged carapace or the spiky upper shell how alligator snappers camouflage brilliantly in the wild. Alligator snapping turtles have large heads, oversized claws, unique, extremely powerful, hooked beak-like jaws, and quite rough skin. All of these physical characteristics make it easy to set apart an alligator snapping turtle from any other turtles known to inhabit freshwaters. 


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The alligator snapping turtle belongs to the genus Macrochelys. Recently, this very genus was divided into three separate species categories, namely Macrochelys temminckii, and further M. Apalachicola, and M. Suwannensis. The latter two types of alligator snapping turtles are named after the Apalachicola and the Suwannee Rivers where they happen to live.

Alligator snapping turtles’ close cousins are the common snapping turtles. However, common snapping turtles belong to a different genus, the genus Chelydra.

Habitat & Lifespan

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Native to the North American continent, the natural habitat of alligator snapping turtles includes both wetland swamps and freshwater sources.

Access to freshwater is crucial for an alligator snapping turtle’s habitat, as they usually live in deep water, such as these of large lakes, canals, rivers, and swamps.

Hatchlings are bred near smaller streams, as well as near-surface water.

Alligator snapping turtles enjoy spending most of their time underwater. However, during the breeding female alligator snappers usually venture on land.

The lifespan of Alligator snapping turtles can be anywhere between 10 – 40+ years, even though there have been recorded examples of alligator snappers living as long as 70 years.


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  1. Small alligator snappers (less than 1 foot in length) can be stored in a breeder tank/aquarium, however, this must be used only and strictly as a temporary solution. The expected growth rate of an alligator snapper is about 1 – 2 inches per year, and so an appropriately-sized habitat must be established accordingly.
  2. Alligator snapping turtles can be stored in livestock water troughs made of plastic or galvanized steel, and also known as stock tanks.
  3. In the case of housing alligator snappers in steel tanks, the tanks must be lined with a suitable pond liner. A pond liner is crucial to help to prevent unwanted metals from leaching into the water, potentially posing dangerous health risks for the snappers. Plastic tanks do not require lining, though.
  4. Readily-available stock tanks that come with plugs and drains for the purpose of ensuring proper, easy draining with a rubber hose can be an excellent choice, although keepers can also embrace a DIY attitude on equipping stock tanks with the needed drainage devices. Mind that screens and stands are usually custom-made by alligator snappers’ owners.
  5. The minimum size capacity for a stock tank suitable to house an alligator snapper is 700 – 800 galloon (which is to typically occupy 16+ sq. ft. of space).

Size and Depth

  1. An adult alligator snapper will require a minimum of the 700-gallon capacity tank.
  2. The minimum depth of an appropriately-sized tank should be as deep as the length of the turtle’s shell, with the water level for an adult alligator snapper being semi-shallow at its best.
  3. The tank should be deep enough as to allow the alligator snapping turtle to swim freely, yet simultaneously, it should be shallow enough to allow the turtle to sticks its neck up, so that it can breathe, taking a fresh gulp of air whenever needed.


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  1. Provided a keeper is to store a juvenile alligator snapper in a tank, it is best not to use any substrate at all. Doing so helps to keep the water as clean as possible easily, preventing algae and bacteria from developing and posing health risks for the reptile’s well-being.
  2. Even though juvenile alligator snappers can be stored in a tank without substrate, hiding places are essential. A place to hide will help the alligator snapper to feel much more comfortable.
  3. In order to create hiding places your alligator snapper will enjoy, keepers can make use of plants and/or driftwood. Whether plants/driftwood are to be real or artificial is a matter of personal choice, as both options can work fine for the purpose of satisfying the reptile’s basic instinct.
  4. It is a good idea for an alligator snapper’s tank to be lined with rocks. It is important for keepers to choose rocks that are large enough NOT to be accidentally swallowed by the reptile.
  5. Alligator snapping turtles have a natural desire to burrow, as this is how they typically wait for food. With this in mind, keepers must be especially careful with rocks and avoid opting for oddly shaped/sized rocks that could potentially trap the turtle beneath while it is trying to burrow itself.
  6. A smart way to avoid any accidents when using rocks as substrate is to opt for aquarium sealant or nontoxic epoxy to secure the selected rocks in place.
  7. Do NOT use sharp rocks as they can scrape the alligator snapper’s shell, leading to infections in return.
  8. Alligator snappers are almost entirely aquatic. Even though they only bask every now and then, providing access to fresh air is crucial. A suitable basking/fresh air-breathing/resting area should be shallow.
  9. Similarly to rocks, logs can also provide a good place for alligator snapping turtles to either hide beneath or climb out of the water whenever needed.
  10. Planting native vegetation and placing appropriate logs from the middle depths of the snappers’ enclosure to the shallow water zones is yet another brilliant way to provide the reptiles with places to hide.
  11. It is quite possible that an alligator snapper will eat some of the live plants in its enclosure. However, adding live plants is definitely worth the effort, as apart from providing hiding places and shade, plants also help the sediment related to slow-moving water to fall out.
  12. If the caregiver plans to keep an alligator snapper in a pond, the edge can be easily naturalized by using marginal plants, such as rushes and cattails.
  13. Another brilliant way to add hiding places is to opt for driftwood and/or leaf litter, both of which further help to acidify the water, and in return, to prevent algae growth.
  14. It is totally fine (and in fact, inevitable) for the leaf litter to sink to the bottom of the alligator snapper’s enclosure. However, it is highly unlikely for the leaf litter to be stirred up by the reptile.
  15. Since the basic substrate for alligator snapping turtles is water, keeping oxygen levels high through proper air circulation is a MUST. In the wild, alligator snappers inhabit well-aerated tributaries, so promoting fresh air circulation is crucial, especially for man-made ponds.
  16. For the purpose of promoting air circulation, fountains, external filters, air stones, and/or waterfalls can be of great assistance.
  17. One of the biggest assets to providing a well-oxygenated enclosure for a captive alligator snapper is that this type of enclosure will naturally process most of the reptile’s waste, helping keepers by minimizing decaying material and the associated cleaning services.

Temperature & Lighting

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  1. In the wild, alligator snapping turtles can be found submerged at water temperatures varying from 70 to 74 °F.
  2. In captivity, the air temperatures must not fall below 65 °F as in such cases, domesticated alligator snappers have been reported to refuse to eat.
  3. In order to prevent hibernation, which typically occurs during the first few years of an alligator snapping turtle’s life, it is highly recommendable to keep the temperature at a constant, year-round rate of 82 °F.
  4. If you are to keep an alligator snapper outdoors, the sun will provide all the natural heat needed for the reptile to successfully synthesize vitamin D3, without any further lighting supplementation. Vitamin D3 is especially important for alligator snapping turtles’ health, as it helps for the reptile’s body to absorb calcium in order to build strong bones and shell.
  5. If you are to keep a juvenile alligator snapper in an indoor aquarium/tank, additional lighting is needed. UVB light will help caregivers keep an alligator snapper healthy since it is the UVB wavelength of sunlight to help turtles synthesize Vitamin D3 successfully.
  6. It is a must to make sure that heating cables are enclosed in a plastic pipe in order to keep the alligator snapper safe at all times.
  7. Enclose heating cables in a plastic pipe to keep your turtle safe.


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Alligator snapping turtles are omnivorous animals, meaning that they will gladly consume both plants and meat. However, alligator snappers tend to prefer consuming fish and invertebrates more often than they would prefer to consume plants.

Alligator snappers are known to be opportunistic feeders, as they rely on both dead organisms, as well as on living foods, depending on which they can scavenge.

Generally speaking, alligator snapping turtles are to eat (almost) anything.

Eating Habits

In general, alligator snapping turtles eat all-year-round, with the exception of refusing to eat because of high temperatures. In the wild, alligator snappers prefer to search for food in the winter season, rather than in the peak of the summer season.

Alligator snappers typically prefer to catch their prey, which is the case with fish. Some of the fish alligator snapping turtles love to feast on include mollusks, fish carcasses, carrion, amphibians, and crustaceans. 

Part of the eating habits of alligator snappers is to prey on worms, crayfish, snakes, water birds, and even on other turtles. Eating aquatic plants is another part of the alligator snapper’s feeding routine.

Even though only on certain occasions, snappers may prey on nutrias, muskrats, aquatic rodents, and mammals of small to medium sizes, such as opossums and squirrels.

Usually, alligator snappers feed at night. However, if hungry, they would gladly feed at any time of the day or night.

In order to strike their prey, alligator snappers use their tongue for the purpose of luring their victims closer. The alligator snapping turtle’s tongue is wriggled in order to mimic worm-like movements. It is through these worm-like movements how snappers attract fish and certain types of invertebrates.

Young alligator snappers are most commonly to use their tongues to catch various small fish, such as minnows. However, for adults, active foraging is needed to satisfy their hunger.

Sleeping Habits

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Alligator snapping turtles are primarily active at night. Being nocturnal creatures, they hunt when the temperature conditions are on the cooler side.

Throughout the day, alligator snappers are to lie quietly at the bottom of the water, with their jaws kept open, waiting to catch their prey.


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In their natural habitat, alligator snapping turtles can be most commonly found in large rivers, as it is in large rivers where water is always moving, being cleaned and replenished by Mother Nature.

When it comes to the home environment, it is the keeper’s task to maintain the water fresh and clean at all times.

As a rule of thumb, caregivers should be majorly concerned with maintaining the proper oxygen and nutrients levels in the alligator snapper’s water. When oxygen/ nutrients levels are out of the norm, this can cause algae to grow, posing health risks to the reptile’s well-being.

In order to keep an alligator snapper’s enclosure water clean in the case of taking care of the reptile in a tank/aquarium, it is best to change the water frequently.

For keepers who are to take care of an alligator snapper in an outdoor man-made pond, using the proper equipment to sustain oxygen levels within the required rates is needed.

Water should be changed every 1 to 4 weeks. The frequency of changing water depends on the size of the tank, as well as the filters’ capacity and overall performance.

Using a simple water kit is an excellent way to measure nutrient levels in an alligator snapper’s water.

Development and Reproduction

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  1. In the wild, the mating season for alligator snapping turtles slightly varies. For instance, in Florida, the mating season begins in early spring, while in Mississippi Valley it begins in late spring.
  2. Alligator snapping turtles are polygynandrous, meaning that both females and males alike are to mate with more than one partner.
  3. Mating takes place once a year, as it is seasoned for alligator snappers. Snappers reach sexual maturity when they are between 11 and 13 years old.
  4. During the breeding season, alligator snappers are known to become quite territorial. Once males are to find a potential female to mate with, they will mount the female’s back a sing of demonstrating their mating approval.
  5. Then they are to grasp the shell of the female alligator snapper with their crooked, sharp feet for the purpose of inducing insemination.
  6. After fertilization, the female alligator snapper is to lay eggs in a nest. The nest is basically a hole which is dug in the sand approximately 50 meters away from a water source.
  7. The size of an alligator snapper’s clutch depends on various factors. A single clutch can contain anything from 8 to 52 eggs. Incubation typically lasts for 100 – 140 days.
  8. Hatchlings are usually born at some point in the fall, and they are fully independent. It is the hatchling’s independence at birth that is the main reason for turning them into easy prey in the wild.
  9. It is the incubation temperature to determine the sexual orientation of newborn alligator snappers. Females are generally born at temperature of around 29 – 30 degree Celsius, while males are born at slightly lower temperatures, ranging from 25 – 27 degree Celsius.
  10. A newborn alligator snapping turtle’s appearance is quite similar to that of adults, except for the size.
  11. Baby alligator snapper turtles prey on guppies, crayfish, tadpoles, snails, as well as various small invertebrates in the water.

How to Breed

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  1. If a keeper is to breed alligator snappers, a healthy male and a healthy female snapper must be brought together.
  2. Alligator snappers reach sexual maturity between 11 – 16 years of age.
  3. It is the changing season to stimulate adult snappers to mate, and because of this, breeding is best to take place outdoors.
  4. The male and female alligator snapper should be kept together for a couple of months, as to provide them ample mating opportunity.
  5. In captivity, alligator snappers typically mate between February–October. They produce a clutch of 10 – 50 eggs within an average of 2 months after mating.
  6. For breeding captive alligator snappers indoors, the eggs must be incubated by the keeper by placing them over well-moistened (but not soaking wet) vermiculite, and maintain a temperature of between 77 – 86 degree Fahrenheit. The vermiculite should be sprayed periodically as not to dry out and kept constantly moist until the eggs hatch.
  7. Breeders can determine the sex of alligator snappers’ offspring by incubating the eggs at different temperatures accordingly.
  8. Breeders can tell whether the eggs are fertile provided a clear subgerminal space (resembling a chalky white spot) is to appear on the eggshells.


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  1. As a rule of thumb, remember that alligator snapping turtles must never be picked by the tail. Picking an alligator snapper by the tail can cause massive, serious, often irreversible damage to the spinal cord.
  2. Keep in mind that mature alligator snappers are equipped with claws that reach the length of a human’s finger. They also possess a powerful beak, and they will not be afraid to put it to use on the keeper’s toes, fingers, or any other body parts.
  3. Handling an alligator snapping turtle must only be approached by owners who have sufficient experience with turtles in general and/or have been properly trained how to do so.
  4. Due to the massive size of mature alligator snappers, handling can be especially challenging, since an adult snapper can weigh just as much as an adult person. The goal is to grasp the turtle just behind its head, as well as in front of the tail as to limit its ability to bite accidentally. Snappers can bite even through broom handles, so make sure to be extremely careful about their mouth’ placement when handling.
  5. Small alligator snapping turtles can be held just like any other turtle. The keeper simply needs to grasp the sides of the turtle’s shell.

How to Treat and Prevent Possible Health Issues

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Algae buildup can lead to infections or injuries on your alligator snapping turtle’s shell. Such issues may require to be addressed as quickly as possible by a qualified veterinarian, even though keepers can manually remove some of the algae by scrubbing the turtle’s shell periodically using room-temperature, clean water and a soft brush.

Shell Rot

Fungal, as well as bacterial organisms,  can cause the alligator snapper’s shell to be infected.

Shell infections can result because of scratched on the shell’s surface, such as, for instance, from a sharp rock. Improper husbandry conditions can also lead to infections that are capable of weakening the reptile’s immune system.

Nonetheless, the lack of an appropriate heat source and/or fresh, clean water can also pose risk for shell infection-related disease.

As shell infection may easily spread throughout an alligator snapper’s body, it is crucial for owners to address such issues immediately.

Usually, owners can spot shell rot if a light spot is to appear on the alligator snapper’s shell.

If your alligator snapping turtle’s shell becomes infected, it is best to pay your vet a visit immediately. Daily treatment with a broad-spectrum topical antiseptic may be recommended and/or lightly scrubbing routines of the infected areas.

In severe cases, however, the shell may break off in pieces, and foul smell is often to occur as a result.

Swollen Eyes

If you notice that your alligator snapper’s eyes appear swollen, this may be an indicator of respiratory infection. Such type of infection is typically treated with antibiotics.

Although rarely, swollen eyes may result because of lack of Vitamin A in the reptile’s diet, a condition known as hypovitaminosis A. However, with a proper, varied diet, hypovitaminosis A should not be an issue.

Shell Injuries

In the case your alligator snapping turtle’s shell is cracked, keepers can rinse the shell using saline, and proceed by applying povidone-iodine temporarily. Afterwards, the treated area must be covered with sterile gauze, and owners should contact a veterinarian.


If injuries are to go untreated, this can lead to abscesses, filled with caseous, which is a particular semisolid discharged by the reptile. Such type of injuries can occur literally anywhere on your alligator snapper’s body.

In the case such an injury does not go away on its own within a couple of days, it is best to see a veterinarian for further consultation.

Possible Dangers to Humans

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Apart from their notoriously mighty, powerful bite, that can lead to harsh consequences, alligator snappers, similar to other reptiles, can be carriers of Salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella bacteria carried from reptiles can cause salmonellosis in humans. Salmonellosis is a gastrointestinal disorder, often leading to fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and/or vomiting.

Although only in rare cases, Salmonella can spread to the human’s blood, brain, and bones.

It is impossible to tell whether your alligator snapping turtle has salmonella bacteria on its body or not simply by looking at it. However, owners can protect themselves, as well as their families, by washing their hands thoroughly every time after handling the reptile pet. Also, keepers must avoid touching their mouths prior to washing their hands with clean water after handling the turtle.

As young children’s systems are not fully mature, they are at higher risk of developing Salmonella infections-related complications.If children under 5 are living in the home, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention strictly recommends not to own a reptile and/or amphibian.  


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Despite its ferocious name, the alligator snapping turtle is not really very aggressive.

In their natural habitat, alligator snappers are to hunt by lying motionless, standing still in the water and only displaying their pink-colored tongue, resembling a burrowing worm, in order to lure their prey.

Sometimes, alligator snappers can wait patiently for up to a full hour before afish is to swim into their open mouths.

Sometimes, alligator snappers also like to bury themselves in the mud, so that only their nostrils and eyes are left exposed, demonstrating yet another phenomenal, non-aggressive adaptation to catch prey. 

In general, alligator snappers are solitary creatures. In the wild, the alligator snapping turtle’s radiating yellow patterns located around the eyes, coupled with algal growth covering the carapace, allow for this mesmerizing creature to get easily and naturally camouflaged.

Even though alligator snappers are not aggressive by nature, they do get quite aggressive if they are to defend themselves. They also tend to dislike social interaction.

In cases when the alligator snapper is forced to leave its comfy resting spot, it typically quickly becomes agitated, and in return, very aggressive.

If picked up and/or attacked, an alligator snapping turtle is to quickly shoot its head forward incredibly fast, and then use its enormous, strong jaws to bite, delivering a painful wound.

Availability: How to Get an Alligator Snapping Turtle

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Keeping in mind the legal protections against the commercial sale and/or harvest of alligator snapping turtles in many countries and states, it might be the case that one of the only ways to get one would be to buy it online.

As a rule of thumb, if an alligator snapper has not been cared for properly, it may fail to survive, regardless of whether or not the next keeper is to take the best care of it.

Always acquire an alligator snapper only through a legitimate dealer, rescue, and/or breeder. Doing so will not only allow you to lay hands on healthy, properly care for alligator snapping turtles, but will also grant you proof of purchase that can be needed if the local wildlife authorities are to require it from you.

Alligator snapping turtles sold by street vendors are best to be avoided.

Mind that young hatchling, no matter how cute, tend to be less hardy than the alligator snappers provided with more time to mature before being purchased and taken home.

Fun Facts

  1. In the wild, the alligator snapping turtle is one of the heaviest turtles on the planet. However, it was at the Tennessee Aquarium where one of the largest alligator snapper specimen, weighing 249 Ib., was recorded back in 1999 at the age of 16 years. The maximum carapace length of 2.8 feet was recorded at the Brookfield Zoo when another massive specimen was measured to weigh 236 Ib!
  2. The bite force of an alligator snapping turtle is actually less than that of other turtles. Even though alligator snappers can bite through the handle of a broom without any difficulty, there have been only very rare cases of human fingers bitten off by this legendary turtle species.
  3. It is thanks to the algae that often tends to grow on the alligator snapper’s shell how this unique reptile manages to camouflage masterfully in the wild.
  4. It is thanks to an adaptation known as Peckhamian mimicry how alligator snapping turtles lure fish, using their camouflaged mouths and the worm-shaped appendage at the very tip of their tongues.
  5. Prior to emerging for air, alligator snappers can stay submerged for between 40 – 50 minutes.
  6. Unlike most other snapping turtles, alligator snappers have eyes located on the very sides of the head.
  7. The prehistoric look of an alligator snapper has much to do with the reptile’s distinct features, such as rocky built ridges, a triangular head, and nonetheless, the little eyelashes-like bumps.
  8. Without any doubt, the alligator snapping turtle is the closest creature to a pet dinosaur that a person can possibly own nowadays.
  9. The specific epithet temminckii found in the scientific name of the alligator snapping turtle honors Coenraad Jacob Temminck, a Dutch zoologist.

How to Take Care of an Alligator Snapping Turtle

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  1. If you plan to keep an alligator snapping turtle as a pet, the first and foremost thing to keep in mind is an incredible size that this reptile can reach.
  2. A juvenile alligator snapping turtle can be stored in aquariums with low sides, like breeder’s tanks. However, it will eventually outgrow this type of enclosure.
  3. 150+ pound alligator snapping turtles need to be taken care of outdoors, such as, for instance, in a greenhouse, so that adequate temperatures can be sustained by the keepers.
  4. Juvenile alligator snappers are to grow at a rate of 1 – 2 inches per year on an average.
  5. As soon as an alligator snapper is to reach 1 foot in length, owners need to move their pet into a livestock water/ pond.
  6. Remember that it is all up to the alligator snapping turtle’s keepers to maintain the freshness and cleanliness of the water, as well as to control and maintain the oxygen/ nutrient levels accordingly.
  7. It is good to keep in mind that alligator snappers produce a lot of waste. Also, they are known to make quite a mess of their food. Because of this, owners should be aware that water in the tank/pond should be filtered and circulated on a regular basis.
  8. For alligator snapping turtles owners who live in a cooler climate, adjusting and maintaining the water temperature within the desired rates is a must.
  9. As long as caregivers are to provide their alligator snapper pet with clean, well-aerated water, a place to swim, as well as a place to hide, suitable heat source, and a proper diet, owning this unique reptile is bound to be a beautiful journey.
  10. Hatchlings should be fed every day, while adult alligator snappers should be fed every other day.
  11. A diverse, well-balanced diet is key.
  12. Only feed alligator snappers as much as they will eat, since any uneaten meal is to make their water dirty.
  13. Offer your alligator snapping turtle the amount of food that equals the size of its head. Although only a loose suggestion, doing so can greatly help owners to establish a solid understanding of the reptile’s eating habits, and to avoid getting the water dirty, as this can cause more harm than any good to the pet.
  14. It is based on the turtle’s feeding response how owners can know whether they need to decrease or increase serving size.
  15. Mind that for captive alligator snapping turtles, letting them hibernate may be a risky move unless you are to provide the same conditions as in the wild. It is easy to prevent an alligator snapper from entering hibernation by simply keeping the water temperature on the high sides of the recommended norm, instead of on the low sides.
  16. In the wild, alligator snappers are known to be nocturnal feeders. When kept in captivity, though, they often tend to be active both during the day, as well as during the night, so owners can feel free to establish a feeding routine accordingly.


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How Strong is the Bite of an Alligator Snapping Turtle?

Even though common claims associate the power of an alligator snapping turtle’s bite as one of the Chelydra bite forces in the wild, this is pretty much a myth. Several other species of turtles possess stronger bite force than that of alligator snapping turtles. The bite force of an alligator snapper is about the same as that of humans and is usually relative to the size of the turtle’s body.

Are Alligator Snapping Turtles Aggressive?

No, alligator snapping turtles are not aggressive by nature, and they are not known to attack unless grabbed by the shell and/or attacked by a predator. In fact, alligator snapping turtles are known to be less aggressive than common snapping turtles. Since scientists know too little about alligator snappers, though, it is best to avoid getting this reptile angry and/or teasing it, as the bite can be painful and damaging to human beings and animals alike.

Can You Release a Pet Alligator Snapping Turtle in the Wild?

In the wild, alligator snapping turtles inhabit freshwater sources. However, since not all local freshwater locations may be suitable because of various reasons, such as possible contaminants, among many others, it is best not to release your pet alligator snapping turtle in the wild before consulting with a qualified veterinarian. 

How Often Do Alligator Snapping Turtles Need to be Fed?

Hatchling and juveniles alligator snappers should be fed daily. Adult alligator snapping turtles should be fed only every other day. Giving too much food can result in making the alligator snapping turtles’ water dirty, so only feeding as much as they actually need is crucial in order to sustain their health and well-being.

Can You Keep an Alligator Snapping Turtle as a Pet?

Yes, you can keep an alligator snapping turtle as a pet but you do always need to get well-acquainted with the local laws and regulations in your area of residence prior to purchasing an alligator snapper pet. Because of their sharp claws, strong jaws, and massive size in mature age, alligator snappers are not recommended as pets for small children aged below 6 years. Potential alligator snapping turtle pet owners must be well-trained on how to approach, handle, and treat the reptile as to stay away from any possible trouble.

Why Are Alligator Snapping Turtles Important to Humans?

Currently, due to habitat degradation, as well as due to overharvesting for their meat, alligator snapping turtles populations in the wild have been rapidly on the decline. Sadly, it is humans who are the only natural predator for alligator snapping turtles, and the major driving force for alligator snappers’ declining. Alligator snapping turtles are important to humans as they are a unique part of the ecosystems on the planet, making up for the natural, vital balance on Earth.

Can an Alligator Snapping Turtle Recognize its Owner?

Yes, it is possible for an alligator snapping turtle to recognize its owner/caregiver, especially after spending several years kept and fed by a particular person. Experts believe that is not only the sounds of their owners that alligator snappers, and other turtles alike, can recognize, but it may be also the sight of them, too. Some alligator snapping turtles owners report for their reptile pets to even come to them when called by name or through a certain sound, after proper, continuous training, even though some experts refuse to believe that turtles can recognize other than mating sounds.

Can you Tell How Old an Alligator Snapping Turtle Is by Looking at it?

It can be very hard to tell the exact age of an alligator snapping turtle only by looking at it. However, one can measure the alligator snapper’s carapace, and then count the annual rings in order to get a good idea of the reptile’s age. The most accurate way to tell the age of an alligator snapping turtle is to check its hatch date and/or to visit a qualified veterinarian.

Do Alligator Snapping Turtles Get Lonely?

Alligator snapping turtles, similarly to other turtles, are not social creatures. Owners can put more than one alligator snapping turtle in a pond/ tank, however, this may often indicate more harm than any good, since alligator snappers do not really need another reptile friend. Alligator snapping turtles do not get lonely, and are rather solitary animals one can leave unattended for days, if not weeks, provided their water and food demands are met accordingly.

Can you Pet an Alligator Snapping Turtle?

Alligator snapping turtles, like all turtles in general, do not like being petted. That doesn’t mean alligator snapping turtles cannot make great pets but it simply means that owners must acknowledge and respect the reptile’s needs and demands, one of which is not to be handled and petted frequently and/or in the same way as a person is to pet a dog, for example.

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