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How to Catch Snapping Turtles

By Jeremiah Blanchard

A snapping turtle is a docile creature belonging to the large family of turtles known as Chelydridea. Among them are two families known as common snapping turtles and alligator snapping turtles. These turtles can live almost anywhere in North America and are quite commonly found in large numbers near the Great Lakes. Removing a snapping turtle from it's natural habitat can be devastating for the natural population of turtles in the region and should be done with extreme care. You should always check with your local authorities to see if there are any laws protecting these turtles before you decide to remove them.

Process for Catching a Snapping Turtle

Observe the snapper for a couple of days, paying special attention to any specific route or trails the turtle follows into the water. If you find a trail, then dig a hole 1 1/2-feet deep on the trail and cover it up with foliage. The turtle may simply fall in and save you some time.

Place the net in the water in the center of the turtles hunting area submerged three-quarters of the way. Turtles love murky and algae-covered waters. A boat or canoe may be required for this step.

Tie or fasten the net in place and drop the bait into the net. Ensure that the net is tied to something on shore for easy access.

Wait for the turtle to enter the net or try to chase or coax the snapper toward it. Then pull on the rope to cinch the net and reel it out of the water. Turtles need oxygen, so ensure that the turtle is not submerged in the net for a long period of time.

Place the turtle in a durable box with good ventilation and relocate the snapper appropriately. Snappers are quick and powerful, so watch your fingers closely while transporting them.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Close-knit heavy fishing net
  • Durable cardboard or wood box
  • Small live bait
  • Rope