What do baby alligator snapping turtles eat?

What do baby Alligator Snapping Turtles eat?

What do baby Alligator Snapping Turtles eat? All-in-all they have a similar diet to adults, including a variety of aquatic animals and invertebrates…

Last updated on April 5th, 2023 at 02:09 pm

Baby Alligator Snapping Turtles eat a variety of small fish, snails, and aquatic insects. The majority of the time they are ambush hunters that stay still until their food comes close enough for a quick, snapping bite. Occasionally, they also feed on carrion, which is dead animal matter.

In this article, we’ll look at what you can feed these turtles when they’re young, and address whether they can eat vegetable matter like lettuce or grass. (spoiler alert: they don’t really like veggies!)

Baby alligator snapping turtle care

Even though baby alligator snapping turtles appear very savage and brutal, they need dedicated care and consistent husbandry. These baby turtles, and alligator snappers generally, require good amounts of visual barriers in their underwater spaces.

This makes them feel more covered and concealed. They would require some driftwood, obstacles and certain small rocks underwater to remain hidden and camouflaged.

Baby alligator snapping turtles that are less than six months old should be taken extra care of. They should be fed around twice every day. The baby turtles that are over six months old must be fed once every alternate day but start to get a little more hardy.

Please be aware that if you live somewhere cool, you will need a reliable turtle tank heater to keep your pet warm enough.

How often do baby alligator snapping turtles eat?

Baby alligator snapping turtles‘ eating and food requirements can vary based on their age. Consideration must be given to whether they are six months under or over.

If the baby alligator turtles are under six months old, they should be fed around twice every day. During this time, they’re grow rapidly, and need constant food to meet their energy expenditure. Baby turtles that are over six months old must be fed once every alternate day.

When fully grown, Snappers eat every two to three days.

What do baby alligator snapping turtles eat?
A healthy yearling Alligator Snapper (Macrochelys temminckii)

Baby alligator snapping turtle for sale

Alligator snapping turtles are one of the most exciting and intriguing turtles that you can buy – despite the fact that they don’t swim or move often! Their resemblance to alligators makes them appear more distinct and eye-catching.

Alligator Snappers can often be found in specialist pet stores or on sites like Morphmarket.com. If you get a baby snapping turtle, chances are very high that it will become more friendly as it matures.

There is usually a price variation based on the sex of these turtles. The average cost of buying a baby alligator turtle would be around $120-200, but this varies enormously. Additional costs would include its food items, habitat accessories among other things. 

What do baby alligator snapping turtles eat?

What do you do if you find a baby alligator snapping turtle?

Baby alligator snapping turtles are usually found in water bodies. However, if anyone comes across these snapping turtles anywhere by chance, then they must be released to the nearest water body. The chances are you’ve just found one that has hatched out and is looking for the safety of the nearest pond or river.

In many areas, it is now illegal to catch and keep these turtles. If you find one and would really like to keep one as a pet, then your best option is to look a captive-bred, legally produced one online.

How often do baby snapping turtles eat?

When very young, Snappers eat every day, and almost never pass up a meal. Then, as they mature their metabolism gradually gets slower.

Feeding baby snapping turtles depends on whether they are under six months old or over it. If the baby alligator turtles are under six months old, they should be fed around twice every day. The baby turtles that are over six months old must be fed once every alternate day.

What do baby alligator snapping turtles eat?

What do baby snapping turtles eat and drink?

Baby snapping turtles enjoy eating a variety of aquatic insects, molluscs, crustaceans and other species. Snapping turtles also enjoy eating earthworms, small fish, and tadpoles. They drink water, as any other species.

When they grow up, they especially like fish like Bluegills, but also love eating frogs and even rodents. These larger prey items shouldn’t offered to babies though.

What do baby snapping turtles eat in captivity?

In captivity, the seem to enjoy eating crickets and mealworms too. The captive bred baby snapping turtles are usually not as scary as they appear to be, but still keep that killer instinct when it comes to food.

When in captivity, the baby turtles eat mealworms, crickets, chopped bait fish, turtle pellets, worms and most other common feeder invertebrates. This food is easily available in pet shops near you.

So far, I’ve seen baby Alligator Snappers eat:

  • minnows
  • nightcrawlers
  • chopped bait fish
  • crickets
  • waxworms
  • mealworms
  • super worms (zophobas worms)
  • turtle pellets
  • a strawberry (yes, I was surprised)
  • krill
  • shrimp
  • crayfish (crawdads)
Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)
Alligator Snapping turtle waiting for an unsuspecting fish

Do baby snapping turtles eat fruit?

So let me first say that Macroclemmys turtles are almost 100% carnivorous. They love fish, and they love snapping them up. That’s why they’ve evolved a worm-like lure on their tongue.

Notwhithstanding, I did once get a baby Snapper to eat a strawberry. Was it merely curiosity, and bright red color? Probably.

In general, Alligator Snapping Turtles only eat fruit or vegetables by accident when gulping down prey.

Do baby snapping turtles eat lettuce?

As I mention above, it’s usually accidental if an Alligator Snapper eats any vegetable matter. They are highly adapted to eating an all meat and carrion diet.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with offering them lettuce or other veggies occasionally – it’s just extremely unlikely they’ll eat them.

This is nothing to worry about, because as carnivores they get all their nutrition from their prey. Just make sure that most of the prey you feed is whole. For example, if you give them shrimp or crayfish, they should be uncooked with the shell, head, and legs left on.

Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)
Young Alligator snapping turtle. The pink thing in its mouth is the end of its tongue, which looks like a worm. This appendage is used to lure fish, a habit known as lingual luring

Should you move baby snapping turtles to water?

The natural habitat of the baby alligator snapping turtles is indeed water, so it is advisable to send them to water if you see them on land. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

Baby snapping turtles could be fragile to move and relocate. Therefore, if anyone is unsure about how to move them from one place to another, they should use a towel, stick or any cardboard to do so. The last thing you want is for one to bite your finger and then drop it.

This will help them move safely. Additionally, if you come across any elder snapping turtle make sure you do not put them in water at a time when they are laying eggs.

Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)
Alligator snapping turtle waiting for prey

Alligator snapping turtle food

Baby alligator snapping turtles enjoy a variety of foods. They enjoy eating a variety of water-borne insects and other species. Snapping turtles enjoy eating earthworms, small fish and tadpoles.

Unfortunately, there isn’t yet a specific Alligator Snapping food you can buy. Obviously, that would make things simpler.

That said, adding high quality turtle pelllets like those made by Exo Terra to their diet can help balance it and make things a little easier. Apparently, some baby snappers will also eat Repashy Superfoods Savory Stew, another high-quality prepared diet.

You can find both of these on Amazon or eBay and give them a try, but don’t forget: products like these should only ever make up 20-30% of your pet’s diet.

Can baby snapping turtles eat grass?

Baby Alligator Snappers do not eat grass, and you should try to include it in their diet. They are predators, and providing live food is the best way to keep them eating consistently. Remember, whole prey is always healthiest for meat eaters.

Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)
Adult Alligator snapping turtle – at this size they have a strong preference for fish

FAQ relating to what baby alligator snapping turtles eat

Do baby snapping turtles drink water?

Every organism on this planet needs water to survive. So, yes, baby snapping turtles do drink water. However, since they already mostly stay underwater, it is difficult to find out if they are drinking water, especially when they open their mouths. The general consensus is that they regularly take in water while eating their prey.

Can baby snapping turtles live on their own?

At hatching, these turtles share space with around fifty other eggs and hatchlings, but they are 100% capable of living on their own. The moment the baby snapping turtle hatchlings emerge from their shell, they quickly move off to find a good spot to hunt in and have no reason to stay with their siblings.

Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)

Can you keep a baby alligator snapping turtle as a pet?

Yes, baby alligator snapping turtles can be kept as pets, however, just like any other pet, they too need good care. When kept as pets, baby turtles eat bait fish, mealworms, crickets, and other varieties of insects. This food is easily available in pet shops near you.

Most pet stores also have live food, so you do not have to catch fresh food for the baby turtles. Also, make sure that the water body you are keeping the baby turtle in is kept clean and that you use a turtle-safe filter (canister filters are often best).

How long can baby snapping turtles go without eating?

If the baby alligator turtles are under six months old, they should be fed around twice every day. The baby turtles that are over six months old must be fed once every alternate day. How long a baby snapper can go without eating depends on its body mass. A very young hatchling will fall into poor healthy if fed less than every day.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *