Chelydra serpentina Scientific Subspecies (with common names):
- Chelydra serpentina serpentina - the Common Snapping Turtle (Linneaeus 1758)
- Chelydra serpentina osceola - the Florida Snapping Turtle (Stejneger 1818)
- Chelydra serpentina rossignoni - the Mexican Snapping Turtle (Bocourt 1868)
- Chelydra serpentina acutirostris - the South-American (Equadorian) Snapping Turtle (Peters 1862)
they've got attitude, mind your fingers. they also emit a nasty musk when bothered like most reptiles.Type:
Aquatic, except adult females when laying eggs onlyLifespan:
Short growth spurts every few years from the size of a half dollar to 20" and just under 100lbs in 20yrsHousing:
since they are aquatic and only adult females ever need to leave water they need a large tank or pond. the best "substrate" at the bottom of their tank would of course be river bed sand that you will find them sitting in waiting for prey to swim by. give consideration for their immense size at adulthood when thinking about getting one and finding a tank suitable to hold them for a number of years. they prefer shallower waters as well as slow moving waters so one of those koi pond setups is prime for keeping them and relatively cheaper than buying glass tanks that can break easily when moving. they can have tank decor as juvies and maybe a basking log but after their first year you can expect them to terrorize and rearrange their surroundings. you'll want a good filtration system keeping the water clear and the ph levels in check. the water is their litterbox so you've got to be ready to net the crap out and monitor the ammonia in the water from their fecal matter - you do this because they'll eat and bottom feeder you put in there with them.Feeding:
they're omnivorous, they'll eat just about any organic matter that they find in the wild. as with any other waterborne turtle, they hold a preference to fish. I used to feed all my turtles water dogs and minnows from the local bait and tackle - I've found that there aren't many of these traditional bait and tackles anymore, but then again there aren't very many true fishermen anymore. keep your eyes on penny goldfish sales at pet shops too. these guys will feed voraciously so buy fish in bulk.Sexual Maturity:
if you get a hatchling you'll be waiting 10+yrs if you want to breed.Communal:
not really a very social animal, they will fight and sometimes toes and such are lostLighting:
12+/-hrs of light depending on season shall suffice. something full spectrum that is made for herp keeping is what you want.
Alligator Snapping Turtles - Macroclemys temmincki (Troost 1835)
they have no subspecies. they get much larger and much heavier. they are the cooler looking of the lot. the care is about the same applied on a larger scale - do take this in mind because a turtle that's that big is going to be a big hassle.
there is a website dedicated solely to the keeping and care of snapping turtles and alligator snapping turtles here
good luck, they're a beautiful species but not something that I would recommend for just any keeper.