What Vegetables Can Snapping Turtle Eat?

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Snapping turtles are one of the unique turtles to be kept as a pet. To keep a snapping turtle as a pet, you must first understand its diet. Snapping turtles might be carnivores in their early days, but they also need vegetables to stay healthy. So, what vegetables can snapping turtles eat?

Snapping turtles will munch on any vegetables offered to them. But not all vegetables are good for their health. You should not feed them vegetables or plants of little nutrient value or rich in phosphorus. 

In this article, I will give you a list of vegetables and plants you can feed your snapping turtle. You should also know how much vegetables snapping turtles need to stay healthy. 

What Vegetables Can You Feed to Snapping Turtles?

Snapping turtles are large size turtles. They need lots of calcium to grow and maintain bone health. Vegetables are a great source of calcium. Besides, vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals for snapping turtles. So, an adult snapping turtle’s daily diet should have at least 25 to 30 percent vegetables and plant matter. 

When you choose a vegetable for your snapping turtle, make sure it is rich in calcium and low in phosphorus. Phosphorous might be good for human health, but it is not the same for turtles. A high amount of phosphorus in a turtle’s body can block calcium absorption. As a result, the shell and bones of turtles can get weak. 

So, what vegetables should you feed to a pet snapping turtle? Here is a list of vegetables and plants that are safe and highly beneficial for snapping turtles: 

  • Collards
  • Mustard green
  • Turnip Greens
  • Beet Greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Red leaf salads
  • Peppers
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Celery 
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Dill Weed
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Chicory Greens
  • Water Hyacinths
  • Water weeds
  • Algae 
  • Yellow pond lily 
  • Duckweed
  • Water fern 
  • Bog moss
  • Java moss

Many other vegetables and plant maters can be fed to a snapping turtle. But you must make sure that the vegetables are high in calcium and less in phosphorous. Many vegetables mentioned in the list have a low amount of calcium but are rich in vitamins and minerals. 

For example, carrots may not have much calcium, but they are rich in vitamin A. Snapping turtles need vitamin A like any other turtles to fight infectious diseases

What Vegetables Are Not Good for Snapping Turtles?

Some vegetables have little to no nutrient value for snapping turtles. They can only fill your turtle’s stomach and add nothing to its health. These vegetables include:

  • eggplants
  • cucumber
  • iceberg salad
  • pumpkin
  • squash
  • tomatoes
  • sweet potato leaves etc. 

Vegetables that have low calcium and are high in phosphorus are harmful to snapping turtles. Yes, phosphorus gives the shell of a turtle some flexibility. For this flexibility, a turtle’s shell does not crack easily during any impacts or when predators bite. However, too much phosphorus makes turtle shells too soft and fragile. 

Do Baby Snapping Turtles Eat Vegetables?

Snapping turtles are omnivores. They need both animal and plant matter to stay healthy. However, in the wild, baby snapping turtles are primarily carnivores. They eat earthworms, insects, small fish, and tadpoles. They eat plant matter such as algae, ferns, and lilies as they grow up. 

In captivity, you can introduce vegetables and plant matter early to baby snapping turtles. They may show little interest in eating veggies at first. But eventually, they will start eating them. 

How to Feed Vegetables to Snapping Turtles?

Now that you know how important vegetables are for snapping turtles, add vegetables to their daily diet. As mentioned above, snapping turtles should have 30% veggies in their diet. 

Adult snapping turtles do not have to be fed every day. Feeding them 3 to 4 days a week is enough. So, you must give them vegetables at least three days a week. You can put five pieces of green leaves (Collards, lettuce, mustard green, or other leafy veggies) or mixed vegetables. 

Baby snapping turtles may ignore veggies for a certain time. But continue offering some veggies every day. Make small pieces of vegetables or plant matter so baby turtles can easily eat them. 

It is better to serve vegetables in the water. Snapping turtles can eat vegetables easily in the water. Yes, they will create a mess in the tank. But you can clean the leftovers after mealtime. To keep their habitat clean, you can also feed snapping turtles in a separate tank

Why Is Your Snapping Turtle Not Eating Vegetables? 

Is your snapping turtle ignoring the vegetables you are giving? There can be many reasons a snapping turtle may not eat vegetables. 

First, observe whether your turtle is ignoring just vegetables or other foods as well. If your turtle is avoiding food altogether, it is probably sick. Check for any symptoms of illness. You can also take it to the vet to determine the cause of lack of appetite. 

If your turtle is ignoring just the veggies, consider its age. Baby snapping turtles are typically carnivores. They eat protein-based food and ignore vegetables for a specific time. If you want to make your baby snapping turtles start eating vegetables, you can begin its meal by giving vegetables first and then animal matter and pellets later. 

Feeding your snapping turtle too much animal matter or pellets can be another reason your snapping turtle does not eat vegetables. Snapping turtles that have not been introduced to different types of vegetables and plant matter do not show much interest in eating vegetables. 

It is not difficult to make a snapping turtle interested in vegetables. You have to increase vegetables in your turtle’s meal plan. The meal should consist of 30% veggies. Start the meal with veggies, then eventually give them other food. Instead of giving only one type of vegetable each meal, you can offer different vegetables. 

You can also offer bright, colorful vegetables to snapping turtles. Turtles are attracted to bright colors. Once your turtle finds a vegetable of its liking, it will also start testing other vegetables. 

Before You Go

Feeding the right kind of vegetable is crucial for pet snapping turtles. Not just vegetables, you must provide the right animal matter and food supplements to keep turtles healthy. To know more about snapping turtle diet, read my next articles here:

Snapping Turtle Diet: What Foods Snapping Turtle Eat?

What To Feed A Baby Snapping Turtle?

About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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