Animal Crossing New Horizons – How to Catch a Snapping Turtle

While completing the fish side of your Critterpedia usually has you catching actual fish... this time we'll be taking on a reptile! We've got a look at the best methods on how to catch a Snapping Turtle in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

How to Catch a Snapping Turtle

Let's take a look at the Snapping Turtle's Critterpedia information because it's vital to know when you can actually catch this thing. This is a night time spawn, so you'll be looking to stay up late to grab this one.

  • Northern Hemisphere: April - October
  • Southern Hemisphere: October - April
  • Active Hours: 9pm - 4am
  • Shadow: Extra Large
  • Location: River
  • Price: 5,000 Bells

The shadow of the Snapping Turtle is quite large for the river and is similar to the Black Bass shadow unfortunately. It appears to be a bit larger then the bass shadow, but it will be hard to tell. We've got a look at the Snapping Turtle's shadow below. Credit to Minipa for the image.

There's a few different methods I employ to catch rare fish, and it's generally easiest with something that spawns in the river. One tip to follow is that you shouldn't go to the clifftop areas, because that adds additional possible fish to your spawns.

Mystery Island Method

Fish spawn quite a bit faster on a mystery island, so scaring the ones you don't want away will generate more fish. Use the methods listed below to scare fish until you see a shadow that could be the right size. Cast your line after that fish and see if it's the one you're looking to catch! If not, continue scaring fish until you find another potential shadow.

  • Sprint (hold B-button) and run along the river to scare them
  • Pole vault across the river near the fish
  • Cast towards a fish, get them to bite, and reel it in without catching the fish. This scares away the fish you got to bite and other nearby fish!

There's also a mystery island that only spawns large fish, so if you come across this one it is wise to try and catch some of the harder to find options you've been looking to snag.

Fish Bait/Hard Resets

Fish bait can be gotten by running around your beaches and looking for dark holes that spout out water. Use your shovel on one of these locations to obtain a Manila clam. Gather a bunch of these up and head to the crafting table. You can use them to create Fish bait. Once you've got the bait, head over to a part of the river. Scatter the bait into the water, and you will get a guaranteed fish spawn. If the shadow isn't the right size, just throw in more bait. Repeat until you get the one you want!

If you don't want to continue to farm Fish bait, then you can use the reset method to make things easier. What you need to do is gather up 10 Fish bait, and then go to a river. Wait for your game to auto-save, look at the top right of the screen for the spinning dot icon. Once that happens, start throwing bait into the water and look for the shadow that is the size of the Snapping Turtle. Cast at any that match the size! If you don't catch one, hit the Home button on your controller and fully close Animal Crossing. You have about 2 minutes between auto-saves (if you see the auto-save indicator, DO NOT close the game or your save might be corrupted), so just make sure to reset before the next save! This will put you back to where you saved previously and you will have all of your bait. Repeat this method until you catch the Snapping Turtle!

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About the Author

Shaun aka Evident is a lifelong gamer and creator of websites. He mostly focuses on shooters, but has been known to dabble in the occasional card game as well. You can find him binge watching TV shows in his downtime.

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  1. Havent seen anything yet, but for catching the snapping turtle I used a similar method to the sturgeon trick. I went to a mystery island with a river, then I scared away all the fish. Next i scared away everything that wasn’t an x large shadow. Then i caught the x large shadow. Not sure what the percentages are for it but i caught 3 snapping turtles in a row doing this method. Maybe it was the island, bc i also caught an oarfish on the same island, but thought I’d share in case there is something to it like the sturgeon trick.