What Do Snap Turtles Eat in the Wild and as Pets?

A shy, slow, yet quirky animal, the snapping tortoise can make an excellent pet for the right person. Growing to weigh between five and 25 pounds, the snapping turtle feasts on a variety of foods. In the wild, snapper will feed on aquatic vegetation, fish, frogs, worms, beetles, and even the occasional small mammal.

But what can you feed your pet snapping turtle that resembles its natural wild diet or flora and fauna? Here is a list of what the common snapping turtle eats in the wild and as a pet.



While it may seem disgusting to you, slimy worms are one of the snapping turtles’ favorite foods. They can safely snack on worms in your home as well as in their natural habitat. You can buy some mealworms at your local pet store or online. Also consider buying worms at a bait shop.


Small Fish or Other Small Fish

Wild snapping turtles love to spend their days basking on the rocks, dozing off, and catching delicious little fish. Small fish are the staple diet of snapper and are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. Take some small fish or guppies and put them in your turtle tank. Your pet will stay busy for hours hunting its prey.

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One of the insects that can be consumed by snapper in the wild and as pets is the cricket. These cheerful little insects are affordable and can be easily dumped into your turtle tank. Stock up on weekly cricket supplies at your local pet store.

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Vegetation makes up about 65% of the snapping turtle’s diet. While wild snapper eats algae and wild plants, your pet turtle can enjoy household greens. Celery, lettuce, and carrots are all great food for pet snapping turtles.

How Much Should You Feed Your Snapping Turtle?

The amount of food you offer your turtle will depend on its size and age. For growing snapping turtles that are five months old or older, feed them daily until they reach full size. Once your snapper is fully cooked, feed it two to three times a week.

Be careful not to feed your snapping turtle too little or too much. If your tortoise’s shell appears to be peeling off its shell, you are overfeeding it. If you can barely see the skin on the outside of the shell, he is underfed.

What Should I Feed a Baby Tortoise?

Feed snapping turtles younger than five months old once or twice a day. Since he is an omnivore, your baby snapper will need both plant and animal foods. Give the baby snapping turtle about five pieces of vegetables at each feeding. The pellet or insect should be about the size of a baby turtle’s head.

little snapping turtle

What animals eat snapping turtles?

In the wild, a wide variety of predators kill and eat snapping turtles. These include crocodiles, bears, and coyotes. Despite the fact that snapping turtles cannot hide their heads in their shells, their powerful jaws and aggressive personality usually frighten off predators.



Snapping turtles are omnivores and need to eat both plants and animals. Snapper can eat small fish, crickets, worms, and leafy greens both in the wild and as pets. It is very important to feed your snapping tortoise a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Never feed your adult snapping turtle more than three times a week.

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By offering the snapping turtle a wide choice of food, it will breed in your home as well as in the wild!

Featured Image Credit: Scottslm, Pixabay