Snapping turtles hatch in the wild after about, on average, 80 - 90 days, but
with higher temperatures it might even take only around 60 days.
Some 'turtle mothers', when not having the chance to lay eggs one year, might
overwinter the eggs and lay them the next year.
In captivity, the hatching usualy takes place within those limits, although many
people report 60 - 80 days on average.
After hatched in an incubator, the hatchlings should
stay there and be left alone for a day or two. Then, removed to a temporary plastic box with
damp pieces of cloth or a towel, again, left for 4 - 5 days to let them use up their yolk sacs.
Only after that, the snappers will be ready to be placed in a regular, water filled setting.
( Different turtle species require different type of environmnt. Wrong habitat could
kill the hatchlings - for example tortoises can not be put in water and the other way around,
water turtles can not survive without it. If you are not sure what kind of turtle
do you have consult someone who knows, and if the knowledgeable person or the book are not around -
turn to the internet, talk to people at turtle & tortoise clubs, societies, breeders, forums, chats,
and definitely do some keyword search using as many as possible search engines )
For snapping turtles, and water turtles in general, the tank set ups basics are not different from the
description made in the heater, water etc. chapters, except that some extra care should be taken
in maintaining the quality of the water.
Make sure that the water is clean ( install a filter or make changes whenever dirty ), warm ( set to
proper temperatures - usually 250C or 800F ). The tank doesn't have to be
very big, but there should be some space left for decorations ( which will not work well with bigger
snappers ) like rocks ( no sharp edges ), driftwood, branches, partially submerged to give
the little ones some hiding places ( turtles like privacy - like us ! ), and also some
places to climb for basking.
If there is no direct sunlight access ( never put the whole set up in direct sunlight ! Make
sure that one area of the tank is in shade and only the area designed for basking stays
in direct sunlight ).
The best, although not cheap, option is to buy a full spectrum basking light. My snapping
turtles were regular baskers as babies, spending hours at a time stretched out on the branches of
a large, interesting piece of driftwood.
If you don't have a glass or acrylic tank, use quite cheap plastic stock tanks for small
animals ( sold at pet stores ) or any other plastic containers like those designed to
store your things at home.
snapping turtles are carnivorous ( meat eaters ) and also most other aquatic turtle species
supplement their diet with an occational meat meal. The hatched turtles should be fed with
a variety of insects, earthworms, mealworms, small crickets etc.. Also small pieces of raw red meat and fish - just
like larger turtles.
An occational leaf of
spinach, cabage or lettuce should be placed in the tank - they like an accational veggie snack.
Also, the commercially available turtle foods can be purchased and given to the turtles as supplement
to their natural diet ( it is not a good idea to raise the turtles exclusively on the commercial diet -
it might lead to health problems later in life ).
The small turtles should be fed everyday, as much as they would eat. When hungry, they might start
biting at each other, which might turn dangerous especially in set ups with a whole bunch of them ( once
bitten by one turtle the others will most likely start doing the same thing evantually seriously hurting the unfortunate one,
possibly killing it ).
The snapping turtles grow very fast ( see the growth charts ) and begin to bite at some point.
The first bites by small turtles not a big deal, but they still it hurt... )
Well then, have fun when they hatch !