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Turtles/Snapping turtle hatchlings


We rescued a snapping turtle nest from a woman's garden who declared she was going to kill them all.  They began to hatch this afternoon.  How long can they live on their yolk sac?  I was hoping to keep them for the children until the weekend when we can take them to a nearby nature preserve with a pond that feeds into the river.  Are there any care concerns other than keeping them warm enough?  Also should I buy a certain type of water or will tap water be okay?

Hi Payton,

Thank you for rescuing these little guys!  They can live off the yolk sac for a few weeks, and generally don't eat right away, so you're fine to keep them for a few days.  It's probably best if you don't try to feed them.  Just provide them with a basking spot (not too warm) and shallow water.  Tap is fine, although if there are chloramines in the water you should use a water conditioner.  

I'd love to see a picture or two if you have a chance.  Thanks again for caring!


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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