Having a turtle means that you always have a companion that you can turn to for love, but it may sometimes seem like your turtle is getting a little lonely living in its enclosure on its own. If you want to give your turtle a companion, we’re going to look at whether a snake would be a good roommate for your turtle.
Can Turtles and Snakes Live Together?
If you like keeping reptiles, then you may feel like it’s a good idea to expose two different species to each other so they don’t end up being lonely.
In some cases, this may be a good idea, but when it comes to mixing turtles and snakes, it may not work quite as well as you think it will.
While it’s easy to come up with a horror story where a venomous snake bites and kills a turtle, this is probably the most unlikely possibility because people likely won’t keep venomous snakes.
The reason why snakes and turtles aren’t compatible with each other is far more mundane, and it comes down to how they need to be kept.
Unless you’re keeping a very specific kind of snake that lives an aquatic lifestyle, the simple truth is that snakes and turtles don’t share a lot of similarities in their ideal living conditions.
This can lead to one animal getting the better end of the deal and the other suffering because of it.
Unfortunately, situations like these can lead to one of the animals that you’re keeping getting hurt, either because of neglect or because of the other animal in its enclosure.
Whenever this is a possibility, it’s typically a bad idea to keep the two animals together and it may not even be worth trying.
Differences Between Snakes and Turtles
One of the most unfair things about how people perceive snakes is that they’re creatures that should be treated with caution because of how dangerous and sly they can be.
However, this perception is caused by the fact that the best-known snakes are the ones that are most likely to end up killing you.
While it may be interesting to read about deadly and venomous snakes, the truth is that the vast majority of them won’t even harm a human being.
While some snakes may defend themselves if provoked, most of them aren’t venomous enough to worry about and they’re relatively docile creatures in normal circumstances.
One of the main differences to consider between snakes and turtles is that snakes tend to live in warmer environments that tend to be a little less aquatic.
While there are certain species of water snakes out there that could give a turtle a run for their money, these aren’t typically kept as pets.
This is a major hurdle to overcome when you’re trying to take care of snakes and turtles in the same habitat.
Since most turtles aren’t willing to live in the same temperatures as snakes and since the majority of them tend to be more aquatic than terrestrial, you may have to be creative when you arrange their habitat.
The common perception of turtles couldn’t be any further than that of snakes, since they’re commonly seen as animals that are relatively harmless and calm at all times.
This tends to be pretty accurate when you look at the vast majority of turtle species in calm conditions.
However, don’t underestimate turtles because they can be vicious when they’re pushed into a stressful situation.
Contrary to what many owners may think, turtles won’t always recede into their shells unless they’re faced with overwhelming odds, and they may end up snapping at you.
While turtles and snakes may both be part of the reptile order, turtles tend to live in the water a little more frequently than snakes do when you look at them as a whole.
As we mentioned earlier, this can often cause issues since snakes need quite a bit more dry terrain to live on while turtles need space to bask.
Another thing to consider is that snakes and turtles tend to have widely varying diets that may cause a bit of friction when they’re living side by side.
While this may not be as much of an issue for the animals themselves, it can cause some trouble for the owner who will have to keep track of two entirely different kinds of food.
The Diet of a Turtle Is Different to That of a Snake
One of the most significant differences between the two species is that snakes tend to be primarily carnivores while turtles are a lot more omnivorous.
This means that it’s a lot easier to feed a turtle than a snake because you don’t have to get a specific type of food for them or at least food that’s less specific.
For example, one of the most common recommended kinds of food for a turtle is a leafy green like kale.
One of the best things about kale is that it contains most of the nutrients that turtles need to grow healthily and it doesn’t have any anti-nutrients that will end up damaging your turtle’s health.
That being said, turtles aren’t exactly strangers to eating other living beings, and they tend to consume mealworms with a bit of gusto.
Of course, this doesn’t exactly compare to the kind of damage that snakes can do to other creatures, and that leads to snakes having a much different diet.
In most cases, snakes eat mice or rats, and there’s a lot of debate between snake owners when it comes to whether they should feed them rodents that have been killed already or live ones.
Some argue that feeding dead rodents to snakes is a lot more humane because the animal doesn’t need to suffer when it’s eaten.
Regardless, since turtles don’t eat mice and rats, you typically won’t be feeding your turtle and your snake the same meals.
While this may make it easier for them to coexist because they won’t be fighting over food, it will also make it harder for you as an owner.
For example, you’ll have to pick up your snake and turtle’s food from different places and you’ll have to store them separately.
You’ll also have to remember which food is for which animal, and they may even prefer to be served in different ways, which puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders as the owner.
Difference in Turtle and Snake Habitats
The first concern is the size of the enclosure where you’ll be keeping your snakes and turtles.
In most cases, snakes need more space than turtles so that they can thrive because they’ll often need to be able to slither around and exercise, while turtles tend to need a bit less space over the course of a day.
In most cases, smaller snakes will require between 20 and 55 gallons worth of volume in their enclosures, and you should increase that number by about 50% if the snake will be living with a turtle that needs a similar amount of space.
If you want to be on the safe side, you can also get an enclosure that’s 100% larger.
One similarity between snakes and turtles is that they both need the same kind of day and night cycle.
You should set your lights on a 12-hour timer if you want to make sure that your snake and turtle end up with a natural day and night cycle that will allow them to rest properly.
Since there are plenty of pet owners who want to keep both turtles and snakes at the same time, we’re often asked questions about how these animals relate to each other.
Here are a few of the most common questions that we get from our readers about the relationship between turtles and snails.
Do Turtles Eat Snakes?
The vast majority of turtles that people keep as pets are relatively small, and while they may be omnivores, they’re rarely large enough to eat snakes.
While some turtles may not scoff at a snake if it’s their only option to eat, it’s pretty unlikely that your turtle will go ahead and eat your snake unprovoked.
In most cases, you should be more concerned about your snake attacking your turtle than your turtle attacking your snake.
Unless the snake is extremely small, it’s pretty unlikely that your turtle will end up bullying it or eating it.
Can a Snake Crush a Turtle Shell?
If you’re worried about your snake harming your turtle, you may be reassured that the turtle has a tough shell to protect it when it’s in danger.
Unfortunately, some snakes can get through a turtle’s best defense, though it depends on the kind of snake that you’re keeping in your enclosure.
Some snakes have extremely strong jaws, making them some of the strongest biters proportional to their size in the animal kingdom.
This means that some species can even bite hard enough to crush a turtle shell, allowing them to get to a turtle’s vulnerable areas, potentially even killing them.