How Long Can a Snapping Turtle Be Out of Water? (Ultimate Guide)

Copyright: merrimon

Most pet turtles are aquatic animals. It will be hard for them not to have water. They need a place to swim and hydrate. Water is a very important part of their lives. Freshwater turtles live in ponds, streams, lakes, and other bodies of water. That’s their natural habitat in nature.

It will be hard for turtles not to have water in their tanks. In captivity, they can survive better in an enclosure that’s similar 5o their natural habitat. That includes water and a basking area. Turtles need to swim to cool off when they feel too warm. Water is essential for their survival.

How Long Can a Snapping Turtle Be Out of Water?

Generally, aquatic turtles can live a week or a few months without water. Although it’s not the most comfortable situation, turtles can still survive. It will be hard for the snapping turtle to live without going into the water for a long time. Usually, they only get out to bask in the sun to warm up.

Turtles can live out of the water for a few months. But the problem is, most of their food is usually found in the water. Their usual diet such as small fish, vegetation, and more are all there. Even if the turtle species can live on land, they still need to go in the water.

Can Snapping Turtles Be Out of Water?

Snapping turtles are aquatic species and they can be seen in different aquatic habitats in the wild. They prefer to stay in slow-moving water with a soft muddy or sandy bottom. These turtle species can go well in either freshwater or brackish water. They like to stay where there is a lot of vegetation to easily hide.

Even if the snapping turtles stay all the time in the water, they also go on land. Their reason is to lay their eggs in the sand. Aside from that, they only get out of water when they bask sometimes. But normally, they bask in water by floating on the surface instead.

Can Snapping Turtles Live on Land?

Snapping turtles live in the water since it’s an aquatic animal. They prefer to stay in freshwater and even in brackish water. Like other turtle species, they will be slow-moving on dry land. It’s not an ideal habitat for them. There will be a lot of predators on land and they can’t move fast enough.

Another reason why snapping turtles can’t live on land is their diet. Their food is in the water which will be hard for them to access if they live on land. It’s better for them to stay in their natural habitat. That way, they can get everything they need and survive easier.

Can Snapping Turtles Breathe on Land?

Snapping turtles can breathe oxygen using their lungs. Like other aquatic turtles, they can extract oxygen from the water where they live as well. Another way to breathe is known as buccopharyngeal pumping. It’s a gas exchange that occurs when passing water across its membranes into the turtle’s mouths.

However, there’s another unusual form of gas exchange that occurs behind the snapping turtles. The eastern snapping turtles possess special cells from their cloaca. The cloacal bursae is an opening for excretion and reproduction. It can extract oxygen from water. The oxygen will be absorbed into their bloodstream.

Do Every Snapping Turtle Live in Water?

Yes, all snapping turtles live in water. The common snapping turtles’ habitat is usually in the shallow freshwaters. It can also be in brackish water all over North America. They can also be found in the eastern US and even in Canada. These turtle species live in swamps, lakes, ponds, and streams.

The shallow freshwater bodies are usually their home. They also like staying in muddy habitats that have dense vegetation. These turtles spend a lot of time in shallow waters. Going to dry land is not a usual habit for them. They only do that when they lay their eggs.

Can Turtles Live Without Getting In the Water?

Turtles can live without getting in the water and stay there for eight hours. It also depends on other conditions of the environment. For places with low temperatures, they can stay on land for several days. It will be shorter if the temperature is high since they will need to cool down.

Staying out of the water for a long time can also cause digestive issues. Turtles can’t survive without getting in the water for too long. They are aquatic species which means they live in water. It’s their natural habitat so forcing them out of it can cause health problems.

Should You Pour Water On a Snapping Turtle?

If you have a snapping turtle as a pet, make sure to have the necessary water depth. It has to be just right and avoid pouring more water into the turtle tank. The water level should let the turtle live comfortably. It also needs to be able to reach the surface of the water by its head.

When it comes to the water temperature for the snapping turtle, it has to be from 68 to 76F. Make the depth of the water be at the same height as the width of the turtle. Allow it to rest at the bottom and also stick its head to breathe. These are their usual habits in nature.

How Long Can You Dry Dock a Turtle?

It’s also known as forced basking which can help to heal the turtle’s health problem. Dry locking is a stressful treatment and turtles feel vulnerable when they are away from the water. It’s important to consider its age, size, and disposition. That’s recommended before proceeding with dry-docking your turtle.

Depending on the severity of the turtle’s injury or illness, it’s best to dry dock between one to three months. Although one month of dry docking is usually enough. However, it can stress the turtle if it’s not monitored properly. Make sure to hydrate it properly when needed.

Will Tap Water Kill a Turtle?

No, tap water will not kill a turtle. It’s better if you treat the water first. That way, it will be more suitable for your title to swim and soak itself. If the two water contains chlorine, you don’t have to worry. It’s not fatal for turtles but it can irritate their eyes.

This can cause the turtle to avoid getting in the water if it feels uncomfortable. Too much chlorine is not good for them. The best thing to do is to filter the water first. After that, you can use a water conditioner. Tap water will not kill the turtle as long as it’s freshwater.

Should Turtles Stay in the Water?

Turtles spend most of their time in the water. Although they should also have some time for basking. Pet turtles need to do the same to stay healthy. Pet turtles are mostly aquatic. It’s natural for them to stay in the water for a long time. They also need water to stay hydrated.

Red-eared sliders, painted turtles, map turtles, and snapping turtles should be in the water. They enjoy dipping in the ponds in the wild. In the turtle tank, they soak themselves in water most of the time. For land turtles, usually stay on land but still go in the water to hydrate themselves.

How Many Days Can Snapping Turtles Live Without Eating?

Turtles are tough animals and they can survive around 160 days without eating. Provided that they have access to clean water, it will be easy for them to survive without food for a long time. If they have a good amount of lights that will also help them to stay alive.

During the winter, wild turtles go on brumation. It’s their hibernation process when the temperature drops too low. In this state, they can go on without eating for several months. Their metabolism will be very slow during brumation. Once spring arrives, they will wake with a healthy body.

What To Do If You See a Snapping Turtle?

The best thing to do in this situation is to avoid crossing paths with them. Snapping turtles can extend their necks quickly. It will bite you without warning. That’s the main reason why they are called snapping turtles. They will bite you in defense when they feel threatened or scared.

Snapping turtles can bite at any angle. Don’t pick it up by the tail since it can get injured that way. Find a container of an appropriate size and push it gently from behind. Be careful and don’t place your hands near its mouth. They have a strong bite and it’s not going to be pleasant.

What Do You Need to Raise a Snapping Turtle?

Raising a snapping turtle is not as hard as you think. Although it takes a long-term commitment. Snapping turtles can live between 20nto 50 years in captivity. As long as you take care of it properly, it will live for a long time. Although it can be intimidating for some people.

Snapping turtles need to have a properly sized tank. Sand and rocks are also good for the setup. A heat and UV lamp is also important for them to stay healthy. Make sure to have non-chlorinated water. But don’t forget the filtration system. Lastly, have time to care for your pet turtle.

How to Know the Age of a Snapping Turtle?

It’s hard to know the age of a snapping turtle without seeing it hatch. Although you can measure its carapace to make a good guess. You can also count the annuli rings of the snapping turtle to know how old it is. If you can’t figure it out, visit a vet to estimate its age instead.

However, the annuli ring of the snapping turtle shows the time of their food abundance. It’s not the calendar year but it will still provide you with a better estimate. The turtle’s carapace growth is what will show there. The exact age of the turtle is hard to guess. Unless you’re present on the date it was hatched.

Are Snapping Turtles Ideal Pets?

For some, snapping turtles can be a scary pet to have. It will hiss and bite you which makes it hard to handle. But for some turtle hobbyists, snapping turtles are perfect for them. It’s not an ideal pet for everyone since it requires an experienced owner to care for them.

Like other turtle species, they require a suitable habitat. It has to have the right temperature and provide it with a healthy diet to survive. It will be challenging to have them in captivity since they can also grow big. Although with a lot of patience and care, it should be fine.

What is the Lifespan of a Snapping Turtle?

Snapping turtles will reach their maturity after 8 to 10 years. Their lifespan can reach as long as 40 years or even longer. Snapping turtles usually occupy 4 to 22 acres depending on the size of the wetland they live in. They don’t leave their habitat except for a few reasons.

When their habitat gets overcrowded, it’s time for them to leave. That also includes pollution and destruction of their habitat. In that case, they have to abandon their home and look for a more suitable one. Snapping turtles also leave their habitat when they lay their eggs in the sand.

Reason Why Snapping Turtles Leave Water?

Snapping turtles rarely leave the water. They spend a lot of time at the bottom of lakes, ponds, and rivers. These turtle species like staying in the water. They even bask in water instead of going on land. But there’s one important reason they will leave water on a rare occasion.

When spring arrives, a lot of female turtles are pregnant. They have to look for a place to lay their eggs. Pond turtles can go too far from their habitat to deposit their offspring. Once it’s done, they will leave the eggs and go back to the water.

Can Snapping Turtles Sleep in the Water?

Yes, turtles usually sleep in the water. They can do this while floating on the surface. It will use its inflated throat to make it possible. Some turtles even sleep underwater and rest at the bottom of the pond or tank. They can do this even if they need oxygen to breathe.

Turtles can stay underwater between 4 to 7 hours. This usually happens when they are sleeping or just resting. The turtle will bob its head above the water. It will help them replenish the air in their lungs. After that, they will go back to sleep again.

Can a Hatchling Snapping Turtle Stay Underwater?

Snappers can stay underwater for about 30 minutes or more. They will have to go to the surface of the water to get some air. Although it’s normal for adult turtles to do that, hatchlings may not be able to do this. They still have underdeveloped bodies and shells that can cause them to drown.

When you have a hatchling, provide it with an island or flat stone. It can be used for basking and staying warm if needed. But snappers are not good swimmers so make sure that the water is not too deep. Hatchlings can’t stay underwater since they can drown if they don’t get oxygen.

Where Snapping Turtles Stay During the Winter?

Both snapping turtles and painted turtles spend the winter in pond sir lakes. They live beneath the ice until the winter is over. When the temperature goes down, turtles will go on brumation. Their metabolism will slow down when the water is too cold. This will make them hibernate to survive.

Can Snapping Turtles Drown?

Yes, snapping turtles can drown as well as other turtle species. If they end up stuck underwater and can’t go to the surface, they will drown. It’s also possible if they choke on the food residue. They don’t require as much oxygen as other animals. But they will need to breathe after some time.

Turtles have kings instead of gills so they can’t respire underwater. They need air to breathe like humans. Even if turtles can stay longer underwater, they have to come up to the surface. But if they can’t surface on time, they will drown. It can happen when they got stuck in something.

Is it Safe to Swim with Snapping Turtles?

These types of turtles are aggressive in the land. Especially if they are approached by people. But if in the water, it’s safe to swim with snapping turtles. They normally swim away when they encountered humans underwater. It’s not a threat for people who happens to swim in the water with them.

What is the Age of an 18 Inches Snapping Turtle?

Snapping turtles with a carapace of 18ninches or more is old. It can be between 70nto 100 years old. Snapping turtles from the northern latitudes doesn’t grow much. It’s due to the shorter growing period they have in the wild. But yet southern counterparts are bigger.

Does Snapping Turtle Bite?

They are aggressive especially when they get confronted on land. Snapping turtles will not hesitate to attack and bite. Whether it’s a human or another animal, they will attack when threatened. It’s their defense mechanism so avoid picking one up from the ground. Their strong jaws can give a painful bite.

The common snapping turtle can reach more than 30 pounds. When it bites you, it will leave a memorable scar. But if you encounter an alligator snapper, it can bite your finger off. Avoid touching a snapper if you want to keep all your fingers intact. They have a powerful bite that will teach anyone a lesson not to mess with them.


1. How Often Do You Need to Feed a Snapping Turtle?

If the snapping turtle is less than 6 months, it should be fed twice every day. When it’s over 6 months, feeding should be once every other day. Snapping turtles need to be fed in the water as well. It will facilitate swallowing since their tongues can’t push food back for swallowing.

2. Can I Keep a Snapping Turtle as a Pet?

Snapping turtles requires having an appropriate habitat. They need to have the right temperature and healthy food to survive in captivity. But their size and behavior make snapping turtles not an ideal pet for beginners. It’s best if you’re an experienced turtle keeper to be able to handle this species well.

3. Can Snapping Turtles Be Tamed?

Some people say that snapping turtles will just grow aggressive over time. But if you have had it since hatchling, you can tame it like other turtle species. If you handle it often while it’s young and avoid hurting it, this will recognize you as its friend. Turtles are intelligent so they can be trained.

4. Does a Snapping Turtle Need Water?

Yes, snapping turtle needs water since they live in the water. They like fresh or brackish water with muddy bottoms. It will be better if there is a lot of vegetation as well. They prefer this type of environment so they can easily hide if needed. These turtle species stay in the water most of the time except if they have to lay their eggs.

5. Are Snapping Turtles Edible?

Snapping turtles are being consumed as a delicacy and it’s popular. According to Klawitrer, the 10 to 14-pound turtles are the best for consumption. Their meat is similar to walleyes while the dark meat is like grouse and some tenderloin. It’s hard to imagine but some people eat them.


Snapping turtles are best left in the wild especially when they are already adults. They can be aggressive to humans and other animals. It’s better to leave them in their natural habitat to avoid any incidents. They like staying in the water which will make them very uncomfortable out of it. Although they get out of the water to lay eggs, snapping turtles will be happier when they are in their natural habitat.

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