How to pick up a snapping turtle

Snapping turtle is one of the popular pets because of their beautiful appearance and exciting behavior. Another impressive thing about the snapping turtle is they become easier to tame over time if handled correctly. One issue about the snapping turtle is they can bite if you pick them in the wrong way. In today’s article, we will let you know How to pick up a snapping turtle or handle snapping turtle in an accurate way.

How to pick up a snapping turtle

Identifying snapping turtle

Like the other turtles, the snapping turtle got a shell that covers most of the body. The shell is also known as the carapace. Generally, the carapace of the snapping turtle is around eight to eighteen inches long. The color of the carapace of the snapping turtle is around dark brown to tan. The shells of the snapping turtle become muddy as they grow.

One exciting thing about the tail of the snapping turtle is they are almost in the same size of the species. There are also sharp ridges in the whole tail. The neck, tails, and legs of the turtle usually have a yellowish color when the head is typically dark.

The snapping turtle is from the Nearctic region. However, you can find them in between southern Alberta to the Nova Scotia of Canada. They are sometimes also found in central Texas and the south of the Gulf of Mexico.

How To Pick Up A Snapping Turtle – In An Easy And Safe Way

There are some certain ways to pick the snapping turtle because it bites if it got scared or injured. Here we have shown the different ways of picking the baby and the adult ones.

Steps of picking the baby snapping turtle

  • To pick the baby you have to use thumb and finger.
  • The picking style should be gentle with caution
  • Place the thumb on the back of the shell and the forefinger between the back legs
  • Then pick the baby turtle carefully.

Steps of picking the juvenile snapping turtle

  • Use your middle finger and forefinger.
  • Place the fingers between the back legs.
  • Keep the tail between the fingers
  • If it is heavy then use more fingers to pick the turtle properly.

Steps of picking the adult snapping turtle

  • Always approach from the back silently when you are picking up the adult snapping turtle.
  • For better grip and safety use heavy gloves
  • Use both hands and hold the turtle firmly from the back
  • Keep one hand on the right side and the other one on the left side
  • As the turtle is slippery you have to keep hands under the back legs for better hold
  • Carry the turtle by holding him low to the ground. It is for safety reasons like if the turtle falls then it will not get hurt.
  • Keep the turtle face away from you as the neck is flexible and can be rotated to a tolerable angle
  • Put in a carrier and make sure to pacify it while keeping it down. Move away as soon as you can or else it will bite you.
  • Don’t hold them with legs or tails because the turtle will get hurt.

How correctly Pick up a snapping turtles both small and older

Well, picking up a snapping turtle is easy if you follow the right way. In the below, we will let you know how you should deal with both small and older snapping turtles correctly:

Picking Up the baby snapping turtle

If you have a baby on hatching snapping turtle, then this part is for you. You can pick it up using the finger and thumb. However, be sure that you are gentle while picking up as well as cautious. Your thumb should be placed on the rear shell when the forefinger is in the underneath between the back legs.

 If you are dealing with a juvenile, then you can also pick the forefinger and middle finger in between the back legs. The tail should be in between them. If the juvenile turtle is heavy, then all you need to do is put some more fingers underneath or use both hands to pick it up.

Picking up the adult snapping turtle

The adult or large and mid-size snapping turtles are a little bit hard to deal with than the smaller one. They can bite deeply to make you injured. However, check out the right way to pick up the adult snapping turtle without being hurt:

You will always need to approach the adult turtle from its back. That is to ensure that the turtle does not see you. Also, don’t make any loud noise or bumping while doing so as it makes the turtle aware of you. You can also wear heavy gloves for additional protection and a better grip.

Hold the turtle from its back of the shell by using both hands. One of your hands will be in the right-back when the other one is on the left. Also, make sure that the hands are beneath the back legs with a better grip as the turtle can be heavy and slippery.

After holding the turtle, move him up on a quick order and keep it low to ground. That is because keeping the turtle low to the ground while helping you to resist any unwanted injuries in case the turtle fall from your hand. Also, note that the neck of the turtle is flexible, and it can be rotated at an adequate angle. So, even when you are moving it, make sure to keep the face away from your body.

After moving the turtle, now you will need to put in the carrier or wherever you want to put it. Make sure you are pacing the turtle gently. If you are dealing with a turtle that is crossing the road, then move it to the direction it is heading. Once you freed the turtle, fall back as soon as possible as it will try to bite you.

One of the common mistakes the inexperienced individuals do while picking a turtle is holding them from the back legs or the tail. This shouldn’t be done as the turtle can be injured because of hold body weight needs to be held by legs or the tail. If you get bitten by a snapping turtle, then take your time to release him slowly. Turtle usually holds their bite, and if you drop it, then you will end up with much pain.

Tips for maintaining while transforming an injured snapping turtle

Here are some suggestions for implementing while dealing with a wounded snapping turtle:

  1. As we said earlier, always pick up the turtle from its back. They have a strong jaw and long necks, which can be extended rapidly to bit you.
  2. Never pick the turtle from their tail or rear legs as it can injure the turtle by breaking the bones of the back and tail.
  3. If you are putting the turtle in a container or a box that is adequate in size, push the turtle gently from behind. Stay careful while doing so as the turtle can bite you in the meantime by moving their neck.
  4. Avoid putting your hands in the front half of the snapping turtle to avoid injuries.
  5. If you found any injured snapping turtle in the roadside, then try to be it in a nearby wildlife clinic. While transporting, make sure to put it in a sealed container with an adequate hole for breathing. 

A snapping turtle can lives up to 30 years. However, as they become bigger, they get targeted by a lot of predators. Also, every year a lot of snapping turtles die by crashing with cars while searching for new habitats or space for laying eggs. Hopefully, the above guideline will aid you to acknowledge how to pick up a snapping turtle.


Q1.How to catch a snapping turtle

Ans: When you want to catch a snapping turtle the easiest prey is the mom turtle who is on land to give eggs. As most of the time, they stay in the water, you can use a box or funnel with underwater traps. While catching them underwater be careful about the safety of the turtle or else it may die.

Q2. Is it safe to pick up a turtle?

Ans: if you follow the picking up steps properly then you can pick the turtle easily. Don’t ever use one hand while picking up a turtle or else you and the turtle both will get hurt.

Q3.  Do turtle eats carrot?

Ans: Yes, they love to eat carrots especially the shredded ones. You can also give zucchini, squash, duckweed, water hyacinth, water lettuce and fruits like apples, berries and melons.

Q4. How long do snapping turtles live?

Ans: Snapping turtles reach maturity at 8 to 10 years of age and it lives until 40 to 100 years. The size of the turtle gets huge as it grows old.

Q5. Can you keep a baby snapping turtle?

Ans: among the different ages of snapping turtle you can keep the baby turtle more easily. Because the size is small and you can keep it in small aquariums.


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