8-West African black turtle (Pelusios niger)
West African Mud Turtle Care Sheet
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine.com BY CHRIS LEONE
West African Mud Turtle (Pelusios castaneus)
The West African mud turtle is a medium sized, aquatic turtle found throughout West Africa. Highly adaptable, they occur in many fresh water habitats such as mud holes, swamps, rivers and ponds. During droughts and when seasonal spaces dry up, the turtles will aestivate into the ground to wait out the wet season. They are usually found in large numbers basking along muddy banks and are ravenous feeders.
10-Side Neck Turtle
Pink-Bellied Side-Necked Turtle Care Sheet
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine.com by MARCUS CANTOS
The West African mud turtle is a medium sized, aquatic turtle found throughout West Africa
Pelusios castaneus are a uniform brown color except for some captive born and raised specimens which may be very light colored, almost hypomelanistic in appearance. The carapace is a dark to light brown with no markings. The plastron is also brown with some lighter areas found usually in the middle. The skin is gray to brown with lighter areas underneath and on the soft parts. Strong, semi-webbed feet with sharp nails aid the turtle in climbing and ripping food items apart. The neck and large, flat head are withdrawn into the shell sideways eluding to this turtle's second name, "African side neck turtle."
West African mud turtles are quite common in nature and first appeared some 120 million years ago making them one of the most primitive turtle species on earth today. They have withstood the test of time making them expert survivalists in a harsh world.
Pelusios castaneus have remained easily obtainable and fairly inexpensive for the turtle keeper. They are exported in large numbers out of their native Africa and many enthusiasts are now having breeding success. In recent years, the African helmeted turtle appears to be the more commonly offered species to the general public. The West African mud turtle follows behind it with the East African mud turtle being virtually unknown in most collections.
A medium sized species, the West African mud turtle grows to between 7 and 11 inches. Some individuals may make it up to 12 inches.
Like many of the world's chelonians, Pelusios castaneus has the potential to live a long life. Reports typically suggest more than 50 years in captivity for this species.
Outdoors, West African mud turtles can be housed in ponds and water gardens. This species does not hibernate so they should only be kept outside in the spring and summer if you reside in an area subjected to a cool season or winter. The pond should feature an abundance of aquatic plants like hyacinth, water lettuce, iris and lilies. The turtles will appreciate this vegetation as cover. Gradually sloped to a maximum depth of 12 inches, the pond should make up about 75% of the entire enclosure. The remaining 25% will be used for basking and potential egg laying, Shrubs and grasses can be planted in this portion to allow for extra cover.
The turtles may leave the water during extended heat waves and seek refuge under these plants. The entire enclosure should be at least 10X10 feet for up to eight adult turtles. A strong retaining wall of at least 18 inches is a must to prevent the inhabitants from climbing out. This can be constructed from pressure treated wood, cement blocking or landscaping timbers. The wall should also extend into the ground 6 inches or more in case of an escape via digging. Predator proofing through means of a screen lid made from 2X4's and reliable wire mesh may be necessary in your area.
Indoors, this species can be housed by using a variety of methods. Fairly easy to accommodate, Pelusios castaneus will do well in large all glass aquariums, stock tanks, troughs and custom built tubs. For up to four adults, a unit of at least 6X3.5 feet is suggested. The water should be no more than 6 to 8 inches and can be filled with live or fake aquatic plants. Driftwood, large cork bark slabs, rocks and half logs make for excellent basking sites and will be used readily by the turtles.
The more decor the better so that the turtles can "escape" one another especially when an overly enthusiastic male is in hot pursuit of the females. Always watch for aggressive group members and remove them to avoid injuries. Filtration is optional but if you opt against it like I do, be ready to do water changes every 2 to 3 days. The water will dirty quickly and start to smell. Even when using a filter, water changes are inevitable because these turtles can make quite a mess during feeding time. You can always feed the turtles in a separate "feeding tub" to help cut down on the frequency of water changes.
Lighting, Temperature and Humidity
When housed outside, the turtles need nothing more than the sun for appropriate lighting and temperature. Inside, artificial lighting is recommended. Mercury vapor bulbs of 100-150 watts have proven to be a good choice. They provide both UVA and UVB rays and give off excellent heat. Placed above the basking area, these bulbs will offer the turtles all they require to warm up and stay active in a room where the ambient temperature stays between the mid 70s and 80s. With the basking area reaching at least 95F and the appropriate ambient room temperature, it is not necessary to heat the water. If room temps do tend to fall beyond the low 60s, a submersible fish tank heater can be added to bring the water back to a more desirable degree.
For the sake of limiting the amount of work I have to put into cleaning any indoor aquatic turtle habitat, I choose to not use a substrate in the water section. It makes things much easier. However, larger sized pea gravel is a good choice if you would like to use something. Outdoors, the turtles will drag the substrate from the land/nesting into the water area which is fine. They will enjoy digging into it at the bottom especially on excessively hot days.
Pelusios castaneus will accept a wide variety of food items. We have success offering our turtles pinkies, whole skinned mice, commercial turtle pellets, chicken, fish, shrimp, beef heart, ground turkey meat and the occasional fruit like strawberries. They will also take cat and dog foods (sparingly) along with koi pellets. If kept outdoors, the turtles will sometimes catch some of their own food in the form of worms, insects, frogs and tadpoles. Even wild birds that land inside the enclosure are at risk of becoming a potential meal. Baby Pelusios can be offered any of the above items but in smaller pieces.
This species is capable of surviving in stagnant ponds and rather dirty water conditions. This is of course something that should not be purposely practiced in captivity. Keep any water source as clean as possible by overflowing outdoor ponds weekly and by doing frequent water changes for indoor units.
Handling and Temperament
While no turtle likes to be picked and held, the West African mud turtle has a rather calm disposition. They rarely bite and usually withdraw into their shells if they are being handled. Some will attempt to free themselves so watch out for those sharp nails. We only handle our turtles during water changes and for health inspections to help minimize any stress.
This species has a voracious appetite and they quickly learn to recognize their keeper as a food source. They will swim and walk over to you in hopes of receiving a bite to eat. Aggression can occur during feeding time so always be on the look out for a problem. They are an inquisitive species and certainly do not just vanish under the mud except for during extreme weather conditions. Their basking capabilities adds to the character they already show and they can be a lot of fun to watch as they pile on top of one another for the best spot.
Reproduction and Breeding
The breeding success of Pelusios castaneus in captivity seems to be centered in the collections of zoos and institutions but private keepers are having some luck as well. Clutches can be as large as 11 to 18 eggs by a single female. The chalky eggs are laid in a sandy-soil substrate and the female digs a deep hole which she lowers herself down into a significant amount. Once the female has finished nesting, the eggs can be dug up and placed in an artificial incubator. In the incubator, the eggs are kept on moist vermiculite in deli cups with air holes punched into them. They require a higher humidity level of between 90-95%.
At a temperature of 85-87F, the fertile eggs will hatch at around 53-59 days, sometimes more than 60. The little neonates can be placed in a similar indoor setting as the adults but the water should not be as deep. A depth of 2-4" is fine and the babies will use the aquatic plants as refuge and security. After about 4 to 7 days, they usually start accepting their first meals. They should not be placed outdoors until they are of a more substantial size like 3 to 4". I highly suggest that hatchlings be kept separate from the always hungry adults to avoid severe bites and to protect them from being consumed altogether.
9-Eastern long-necked turtle:
This care sheet is intended only to cover the general care of this species. Ongoing research to best develop a maintenance plan for whichever species you are caring for is essential.
The Eastern Long-neck Turtle (Chelodina longicollis) is found in eastern Australia from just south of Rockhampton in Queensland to Victoria. It is a carnivorous species that in the wild mostly eats aquatic insect larvae, small invertebrates, tadpoles, frogs and occasionally fish. This species is one of Australia's most terrestrial turtles, spending many months per year on land, the species has been observed feeding on land and the analysis of gut contents has found terrestrial insects. It is important to understand that this is a cold climate turtle. In the wild it is active and feeding in water at 12° C.
Eastern Long-necked Turtles are often sold when very small, about 3cm shell length, however, this species will grow to a shell length of 20 - 30cm. As the turtle grows, depending on the size of aquarium you have, it may need a bigger home. Turtles in general are long term pets. They can easily live for 100 years or more so this is a pet you may have to leave to your grandchildren. I say this not in jest but to make you aware of the commitment you must make to this species. Understand that, like all reptiles, this animal is not a mammal. They do not take kindly to and suffer stress from excessive handling; you should not handle reptiles at all unless necessary. Handle your turtle gently but firmly - remember he may try to kick himself out of your hands. A good method for many turtles is to hold them from behind with your hand under the plastron (belly). Don't ever drill a hole in the shell to tether the turtle - this is cruel as the shell is living bone. Wash hands before and after handling and between animals- this is basic animal hygiene. Seek veterinary advice if your turtle becomes ill. If the basics of turtle care as listed below are followed illness should be minimal.
The most important factor for turtle care apart from diet is water quality. Buy a marine pH test-kit and test water weekly it should be 7.5 to 8.2, the higher the better. Buffer water as necessary using a marine aquarium buffer. A filtration system or continuous water replacement is essential. Using a power filter that allows for multiple substrates is the best method. You need to use bio-balls and filter foam, use charcoal as well if you desire. The best way to look at keeping a turtle is that you have a marine aquarium with less salt. You want high pH, high conductivity (salts), low ammonia and nitrite. Of course these animals do not breathe water but they are prone to skin and throat infections that are increased in poor water. Add some salt to the water, not table salt, use the marine salt mix available at aquariums for making seawater. I use about one cup per 50 litres. Remember to do this at water changes also. See table 1 for water quality parameters suitable for this species.
Turtles, like all reptiles, cannot function without correct temperatures being provided. These animals adjust their body temperature using behaviour, ie, they move around and bask or sit in an area with the correct temperature allowing the environment to warm or cool them to their preferred body temperature. Different temperature ranges are required for the water and for the air.
Housing Inside: The aquarium needs to be a suitable length - a 3 or 4 foot aquarium will suit the turtle till it is old enough to go outside. I find a substrate of coral rubble particularly suitable, as it will also help buffer the pH level. An undergravel filter can be used but I tend to use either straight through system (continuous water replacement) or large multi layed power filters with one chamber filled with bio-balls, talk to the local aquarium for details. The water depth must be more than the width of the turtle's shell - if it tips over on it's back and can't right itself it will drown. I find a depth of between 15 and 20 cm suitable; it should be deeper if possible. Provide a totally dry basking area for the turtle, preferably sandy rather than rock. Long-necked Turtles need be able to dry out completely. The basking area may be a rock but should not be abrasive, nor should it be too smooth as the turtle needs to get on and off easily. Adding extra pieces of glass using silicone glue is an easy way of doing this, again see a local aquarium shop for advice on this. There needs to be plenty of ventilation - too much humidity will cause health problems, hence do not use the glass lids supplied with your aquarium, replace them with pegboard or a similar material.
Housing Outside: When the turtle is 3 years old it is better for it to live outside. Remember that turtles can walk quite a distance in a short time. You will need an area fenced with material other than wire for your turtle - the turtle can damage its snout by pushing at the wire. The fencing will need to be about 30cm into the ground - turtles can dig. A non-abrasive pond of suitable depth that the turtle can easily get in and out of needs to be in the enclosure. Also provide plants and ground cover for the turtle to hide in or get shade. A dry place needs to be provided as well - curved driftwood is good - so if it rains for days the turtle can be dry if it wants. Make sure the enclosure is positioned to receive plenty of sunlight and that it is totally predator proof.
Water: Remember that this is a cold climate species and still operates at 12oC. however, only in optimal condition can the species survive at this temperature. I recommend a temperature of 16-20oC and most houses can keep an aquarium at around this temperature throughout the day. However, unless you have central heating you should have a good quality heater in the aquarium to ensure the temperature does not go too low. It doesn't matter if the water drops or rises a degree or two now and then. Use a thermometer to monitor the water temperature. The heater should have a guard on it so the turtle can't sit on it and get burnt.
Air: One end of the aquarium should be for basking. Never have direct sun on the aquarium - it will get too hot. A suitable heat light may be provided (juveniles may not tend to bask much) with the temperature under the light 22 - 26oC. The light needs to provide heat that spreads (no "hot spots") and don't splash a heat light or it will explode - both of these can cause burns. The light should be well out of the turtle's reach and do not use white light or turn it off at night. For most of my reptiles I use red or blue lights as these can be left on all the time and are basically used for heat only.
PH :7.5 - 8.2
Hardness : 1 cup salt mix per 50 Litres
Temperature : 16 - 20°C
Lighting: Lighting is used for heat and light. Heat was discussed earlier.
Light: the turtle must have a day/night cycle. Placing the aquarium near a window for normal light is a good method or if the aquarium is in a dark position a white incandescent light can be used. Make sure any white light is turned off at night.
UV: turtles must have UVA and UVB light in correct ratios to help in the production of vitamin D that is essential for healthy growth. However, I have found through many trials and have conferred on this with colleagues in the USA who keep turtles that UV lights do not work on aquatic turtles. They do not work through glass, plastic or water. These lights are not as strong as the sun and are refracted and weakened by their path through the water. I now supplement vitamin D in all my reptiles and have ceased the usage of UV light for turtles. As sunlight is the best UV source - especially for juveniles - if you keep the turtles outside, they will not need these supplements.
Feeding: It is too easy to overfeed your turtle. If you over feed your turtle the shell of the turtle will grow too fast at the centre of each scute (shield of the shell) causing the scutes to become pyramid shaped. Deformities in the shell will result and the shell won't be as strong as it should be. The frequency of feeding should be 2 times a week and the amount roughly 5 to 10 bite size pieces per animal at each feed. This species of turtle prefers to eat in the water, however, I have had individuals that prefer to feed on the land. Variety is important. Long-necked Turtles are totally carnivorous. Never give food that is still frozen to the turtle. Commercial foods are available. A 50/50 diet of whitebait and prawns (soaked for an hour to remove salt) is another option. Also add bloodworms, blackworms, garden worms, crickets, flies, moths and other insects to the diet. Red meat has very little nutritional value to a turtle and mince should never be offered - it is too fatty. Remove uneaten food after an hour. Give calcium and vitamin supplements weekly. Commercial pre-mixed products are available. Remember the turtle must be warm (water temperature at a minimum of 16oC) for it to be able to both eat and digest food. As they get older they require less food; my adult turtles are fed once per week. Over feeding will cause exceptional growth there are a number of signs of this. A 3-year-old wild Eastern Long-neck turtle is around 5-8 cm in shell length. Also this species always has a black shell, if the shell is brown with clear growth rings, it is growing too fast.
General Health: Don't clean algae off the shell as this may damage the shell and cause infections. If your turtle gets an infection on it's skin or shell it needs to be treated with a suitable medication. Follow instructions. Most of these medications are applied by removing the turtle from the water, gently dabbing the infected area with a cotton wool bud and allowing to dry at least 20 minutes. Do this daily until condition starts to clear. Signs of infection to watch for are a white fluffy growth especially around the claws, eyes and tail or white to grey patches appearing on the shell which can go red if the condition continues. Do not confuse infections with sloughing (the natural shedding of the skin and shell). Here the skin will peel off in a clear to grey film and the shell scutes (sections) will peel. Do not attempt to peel the skin or shell yourself - this can cause damage.
Hibernation: Only healthy turtles in good condition should hibernate and it is recommended that turtles be about 3 years old (shell length 5-8 cm). The turtle can be allowed to hibernate inside or outside. Don't feed within a month of hibernation time (ie. stop feeding at end of March for the Canberra area) as food may not be digested and will rot in the stomach. Do not wake the turtle while it is hibernating, as it will use up fat reserves.
Outside: If hibernating outside the enclosure must be suitable (if not, bring inside) - plenty of ground cover, plants, and suitable soil for digging and a pond at least 60cm deep, with plants and a layer of mud - the turtle will choose where to hibernate. The turtle must not be exposed to frost and must be able to stay dry if it wishes. Most turtles will choose to hibernate in the water. Make sure no predators (eg. rats, dogs, cats) can get to the turtle during hibernation.
Inside: If your turtle lives in an aquarium and is an indoor pet there is no need for it to hibernate. If your turtle is an outdoor pet and your enclosure is not suitable for hibernation you can put the turtle in an aquarium without water in a cool spot indoors near a window for natural light (your turtle will know how long to hibernate by the length of daylight). The turtle must be below 10oC to hibernate safely. Cover the turtle in a deep layer of leaf litter with all heating and lighting turned off.
One point on hibernation, unless you are trying to breed the species there is no need to hibernate any reptile. Do not kid yourself that you are allowing it to go through natural cycles. The moment you bring it into captivity that has ceased. I do not kid in this and it is a serious matter. It will not cause any health or phychological problems to the turtle if it is maintained in a non-winter environment all year round. Hibernation is only necessary to bring the species into a synchronised breeding cycle.
Last word: A warning. I personally consider that this is one of the most difficult turtle species to keep (and I can extend this to worldwide). Many long-term keepers of this species agree with me. Do not take the husbandry of this species lightly and the often-recommended tropical setup of this species will eventually kill it.
I want to thank John Cann for letting me use the photo in the article. I have the express permission of John to use this photo and the copywrite belongs to John Cann.
The pink-bellied side-necked turtle (Emydura subglobosa) is a recent introduction to the North American turtle keeping hobby. Its shell ranges in color from beige to chestnut brown or slate gray. The plastron can be white, pink or, in the case of especially prized specimens, bright red/orange. The skin is typically various shades of gray, with some red markings. As pink-bellied side-necks grow, their skin develops additional random red/orange markings.
Read More :
Due to successful captive-breeding efforts, the pink-bellied side-necked turtle is not the extreme rarity it once was.
Hatchlings are born with an attractive white, yellow or orange ring at the outer edge of their marginal scutes (the outer shell, looking down from above). Their heads are gray to olive green with two bold yellow stripes on either side. The curved lower jaw gives this turtle a permanent smile.
Sex is easily determined. Males have longer, larger and thicker tails, and females have shorter, smaller and more narrow tails. These differences begin to show themselves when the turtles are about 3 1/2 inches in shell length, and are unmistakable when a turtle's shell reaches 5 1/2 inches.
Pink-Bellied Side-Necked Turtle Availability:
Once the rarest of turtles in the United States, pink-bellied side-necks are now being bred successfully by several U.S. breeders to the point where the growing demand by U.S. keepers is met every year. The turtle is legal to keep in all U.S. states. It is one of the few that Oregon allows, and Hawaii allows them, too, but to keep them there requires special permit.
The success of American breeders with this species has enabled the turtle's price to drop dramatically in recent years. Well-started hatchlings usually start at about $79. If you want larger turtles to match others in your collection, or to keep in a large tank or pond, hand-raised yearlings or pink-bellies that are 2 to 3 years old may be priced in the $89 to $129 range.
It's not hard to see how this attractive turtle came by its common name.
Pink-Bellied Side-Necked Turtle Size:
An outstanding aquarium or pond turtle, hatchling pink-bellied side-necks emerge from their eggs at 1.25 inches and quickly grow another half an inch during their first few months. Then they grow a little over an inch a year if fed the same amounts as they would eat in nature. Keepers tend to feed more, however, so faster growth is often the case. After about 10 years, adults may grow up to 10 inches. Keep this in mind when choosing an enclosure.
Pink-Bellied Side-Necked Turtle Life Span:
Because it is relatively new to turtle keeping at the time of this writing, this turtle's longevity over decades has not yet been documented. In 1999, I started with full-grown adults, and they look unchanged 12 years later. This suggests that a normal aquatic turtle life span of 30 to 50 years, or even longer, may be possible. As with nearly all turtle species, a stable environment is the key to long life.
Pink-Bellied Side-Necked Turtle Set Ups
Pink-bellied side-necked turtles are very adaptable. You can keep them in shallow water that's only a few times their shell length in depth to water that is as deep as you care to make it.
A glass aquarium with some depth will show off specimens' trademark pink bellies every time they head to the surface.
Hatchlings up to 4 inches in shell length can be kept in a 20-gallon aquarium or similarly sized container. As they grow, the tank's size should be increased by 10 gallons for every inch over 4 inches. Also increase the size of the enclosure by 10 percent (or more, if possible) for every additional turtle.
Ideal water temperature range is 66 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Hatchlings do well in the 70s to low 80s, but will become less active if water temps fall below 65 degrees. They do very well in moderately acidic, neutral, or mildly basic water. A bit of chlorine, and even small amounts of chloramines, do not bother this hearty species. If you're not sure what's in your water, use a dechlorinator. A good rule of thumb is if it's safe for you to drink, you can keep your pink-bellied side-necks in it.
Pink-bellied side-necked turtles will forage around and rest upon plastic plants, rocks and submerged logs. Avoid creating tight spaces in which they might get stuck. Except for American snappers and some of the larger musk turtles, this side-neck gets along with just about every other species of turtle.
Pink-Bellied Side-Necked Turtle Lighting and Temperature
A well-lit aquarium is always nicer for keepers, and it helps display the turtles. Though it's not required because E. subglobosa is not a basking turtle, UVB lighting couldn't hurt and may still provide some benefits. Basking surface temperatures in the low to mid 90s suits this species well. Providing both UVB light and a small, heated basking surface often requires two separate light fixtures; a single timer for both fixtures that matches the ambient lighting schedule in the room where you keep your turtle will make life very easy.
Pink-Bellied Side-Necked Turtle Diet
In the wild, this turtle is thought to feed on mollusks, crustaceans and aquatic insects. Juveniles enjoy high-protein diets. Our pink-bellied side-necks readily accept turtle pellets and cut fish or other seafood (though avoid shrimp) of any type. They will adjust to whatever reasonable feeding schedule you decide upon. We feed ours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Pink-Bellied Side-Necked Turtle Handling and Temperament:
While pink-bellied side-necked turtles are a pleasure to keep, they should be handled sparingly. This is a highly aquatic species, which means the pink-bellied side-necked turtle is an excellent swimmer that feels most secure when it's in the water. In nature, when turtles are picked up, it's often because they are about to be eaten by a predator. So their instinct is to stay in the water as much as possible. With a little patience, though, your turtle will likely learn to feed from your hand.
Pink-bellied side-necked turtles are tough and unlikely to be bothered by other turtles, other than snappers and large musk turtles. They also don't typically bother other turtles. The pink-bellied side-necks truly is one of the best community turtles available.
Two subspecies have been recognised:
Cuora flavomarginata flavomarginata
Cuora flavomarginata evelynae
This species has hybridized with Mauremys japonica in captivity and with female Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtles in captivity and in the wild.
11-Chinese Box Turtle
The Chinese box turtle (simplified Chinese: 食蛇龟; traditional Chinese: 食蛇龜; pinyin: shìshéguī; literally: "Snake-eating turtle"), also known as theYellow-margined box turtle, or Golden-headed turtle, is a species of Asian box turtle. Taxonomically, it has been called Cistoclemmys flavomarginata,Cuora flavomarginata, and Cyclemys flavomarginata. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System uses Cuora flavomarginata.
C. flavomarginata has a highly domed shell, the carapace and plastron of which are a dark brown with a cream-yellow stripe on the vertebral keel. The edge of the plastron is lightly pigmented due to the marginal scutes' and plastral scutes' lighter pigmentation near their edges. The skin on the limbs is brown, while the top of the head is pale green. Each side of the head has a yellow line extending from behind the eye backward. The skin beneath the head and between the limbs is a lighter pinkish color.
The name box turtle refers to C. flavomarginata's ability to bring the plastron to the edges of the carapace. This is enabled by a hinge on the plastron and ligaments connecting the carapace and plastron, which allows for limited movement.
The forefeet have five claws, while the rear have four.
The external difference between male and female C. flavomarginata is slight. Males have a broader tail than females that is almost triangular in shape.
C. flavomarginata is found in Central China: Hunan, Henan, Anhui, Hubei,Chongqing, eastern Sichuan, Zhejiang & Jiangsu provinces (generally along the Yangtze drainage). It is also found in Taiwan and Japan, specifically theRyukyu Islands, Ishigaki, and Iriomote.
Ecology and life history :
C. flavomarginata is omnivorous, and will eat a large variety of foods. "Adults favor earthworms, frozen pinkies (defrosted), snails, slugs, and mealworms. They also eat dry trout chow and moistened dry cat food, canned cat food; fruitsincluding strawberries, bananas, cantaloupe, and papaya; and vegetables including grated carrots, corn on the cob, and squash. Leafy greens are ignored. Invertebrates that the turtles hunt for include June bug (Phyllophaga) larvae and slugs being principal prey.
In 1863, John Edward Gray described the species as Cistoclemmys flavomarginata. It was later moved to Cyclemys, and then to Cuora. In recent issues of the Turtle Taxonomy Working Group's Checklist the species is listed as Cuora with two recognised subspecies.
12-Indonesian Box Turtle
Asian Box Turtle Care Sheet
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine.com by AL ROACH
Asian box turtles, sometimes called "ambos," have a black or dark brown carapace.
An adult female Amboinensis as it emerges from its shell. Their hinged plastron allows them to close up and protect themselves from predators.
13-Asian Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis)
The Asian box turtle is a decent beginner turtle. Sometimes called “ambos,” these turtles have a black or dark brown carapace. Their skin and limbs are black or faded black. They have light yellow streaking on their neck and face. Asian box turtles possess a hinge on their plastron like that of an American box turtle. Males usually have a slightly concave plastron, and females have a flat plastron. Males also have longer, thicker tails.
Asian Box Turtle Availability
Hundreds of thousands of Asian box turtles have been captured to be sold in Asian food markets. Some have been rescued, imported into the United States and dispersed in the pet trade. In the United States there are well-established groups producing offspring.
If you obtain a wild-caught or recently imported Asian box turtle, fully inspect the turtle. Sometimes wild-caught turtles carry or obtain parasites that can hurt the turtle when its immune system is weak, which is usually when it is stressed. Asian box turtles unaccustomed to captivity are prone to stress. Some also arrive dehydrated, so a good soaking is recommended after obtaining your turtle.
Asian Box Turtle Size
With four subspecies, Asian box turtles range in size based on geographical location. Smaller subspecies measure 5 to 7 inches long, and larger subspecies measure 9 to 12 inches long.
Asian Box Turtle Life Span
Although it depends on the individual, Asian box turtles kept in ideal conditions can outlive their human caretakers. These turtles can live more than 100 years. Some may live up to 150 years. However, most records show a life span around 40 to 60 years. Poor diet, changes in habitat, dirty enclosures and high stress levels seem to play a large role in lower than expected life spans.
Asian Box Turtle Caging :
A 20-gallon long tank or large plastic tub is sufficient for one or two Asian box turtles. Sweaterboxes are good for raising smaller ambos. These turtles like water, so creating a setup that is half land and half water is a good idea. Turtles do fairly well in 2 to 4 inches of water, but I have not had problems with turtles kept in 6 to 8 inches of water. I have even kept them outside in a pond as deep as 2 feet.
Water quality is important with keeping any turtle. Always keep your water clean, clear and cool. The ideal water temperature should range from 75 to 88 degrees, with 80 degrees as a good average. Filtered water helps prevent illness. Oxygen flow is key. Water movement allows for more oxygen, but make sure water does not hit a turtle's basking area.
Some Asian box turtles will stay in the water nearly all the time and emerge only to bask. Thus it is important to provide a log, rock or embankment in your pond or enclosure. Your box turtle will use it to climb out of the water and dry off in the warmth of a heat lamp or the sun. Artificial plants help give the turtle some security in the enclosure.
Avoid using gravel as a substrate. Turtles might accidentally swallow some, causing impaction and health problems.
Here is a plastron comparison of a male and female Asian box turtle. The turtle on the left has a slightly concave plastron, which indicates this is a male. The female on the right has a flat plaston.
Asian Box Turtle Lighting and Temperature:
Some people keep their Asian box turtles outside year round because they can withstand cold temperatures. I keep a few adults outside in New Jersey year round, and they hibernate with some of my other box turtles.
Even though I keep a few of my turtles outside year round, I do not recommend it. They can die easier during hibernation, or the cooling period, than an eastern box turtle or three toed box turtle would. Another good reason not to hibernate this species is because more than likely you will not know their locale which makes it hard to tell if they are cold tolerant. Most imported Asian box turtles come from Indonesia and should not be hibernated at severe cold temperatures, but only cooled to around 50 degrees.
When Asian box turtles are active, try to keep an ambient temperature higher than 70 degrees and a basking area around 90 degrees. If turtles are kept outside during warmer months, the sun should provide all the warmth needed. Turtles burrow down a couple feet or more to prevent freezing in the winter. If turtles are kept inside, provide them with a heat bulb and a UVB light.
Asian Box Turtle Diet:
Asian box turtles feed on a variety of foods. They eat romaine lettuce, mealworms, waxworms, night crawlers, small mice, turtle pellets and other commercial turtle foods, bananas, watermelon, tomatoes, blueberries and strawberries. Variety is always a good idea. Also add calcium powder and multivitamins to make sure your turtles get the proper nutrition.
Asian Box Turtle Handling and Temperament:
Captive-bred specimens tolerate handling better than imported turtles because of stress issues. However, too much handling, even with a captive turtle imported years ago, may stress out the reptile. Stress can lead to respiratory infections or other illnesses.
14-Asian Spiny Turtle
Spiny Turtle (Heosemys spinosa) Care Sheet
Southeast Asian Spiny Turtle (Cogwheel Turtle, Spiny Hill Turtle)
Tenasserim through peninsular Thailand and the Malay Peninsula to Sumatra, Borneo, and various small Indonesian Islands.
Shallow, clear rainforest streams at altitudes from 170 m up to 100 m where it frequently wanders about on land in cool, humid, shaded areas. It often hides under plant debris or clumps of grass. Young may be more terrestrial than adults.
From 175 mm to 220 mm in carapace length and 1.5 kg to 2.0 kg mass.
Large adults are spineless. Males have longer, thicker tails than females and concave plastrons.
Care in Captivity:
Indoors - Adults should be housed in large (852 liter) stock water tanks (178 cm X 61 cm X 61 cm high) divided into land and water areas. The water area should be at least half of the total area and maintained at a depth of 6 to 10 cm. The land substrate should consist of a 5 cm layer of river gravel (6-8 mm size) with a topsoil layer consisting of peat moss and long fiber peat moss (Sphagnum sp.) at a depth of 15-25 cm for nesting. Neonates and juveniles should be maintained in similar, but smaller, enclosures as the adults. A rain cycle of once to twice weekly, provided by sprinklers, will provide the necessary humidity needed by the turtles.
Outdoors - These turtles do quite well in large outdoor pens planted with shrubs and a large, shallow pool of clean, cool water. Indoor heated facilities are necessary during the cooler months. These turtles are very similar to North American wood turtles (Clemmys insculpta) in habitat requirements.
Temperature and Lighting:
Spot lights (150 W) should be used to provide basking areas and ambient temperatures should be maintained between 27 and 30° C. A photoperiod of 12 hours daylight and 12 hours night should be provided.
Spiny turtles are mostly herbivorous by nature, although they will sometimes eat meat in captivity. It is best to feed them salads consisting of fruits (especially tomatoes), vegetables, and collard greens two to three times per week. Chopped skinned mice or mouse pinkies may be fed to adults biweekly, but refrain from feeding meat to neonates and juveniles. Most neonates and juveniles prefer tomatoes over any other food items and tomatoes may be the best choice for getting finicky eaters to feed regularly. Vitamin supplements are not usually necessary if a mixed salad is offered. A calcium/phosphate supplement may be given to neonates and juveniles and a good diet should include Turtle Brittleâ to provide Vitamin D3.
Copulation, in captivity, has been observed in December and February. Mating behavior is often triggered by spraying water on the adults with a garden hose. The male becomes excited during this "rain" event and chases the female into the water for mating. Nest digging behavior is unknown in the wild, but generally one or two eggs may be deposited by the female in a nest. Females may produce up to three clutches per year; a common occurrence for batagurine turtles. The only successful reproduction of the spiny turtle in captivity occurred at Zoo Atlanta in 1991. The incubation period was 106 days. The egg was incubated in a medium of damp sand, peat moss, and long fiber peat moss at a temperature of 28-30° C for 35 days and at a temperature of 26-28° C for the remainder of the time. Some batagurine turtle eggs undergo a diapause phase that may correspond to the wet/dry seasons and it may be necessary to fluctuate incubation temperatures.
Spiny turtles are susceptible to the same general diseases common to other emydid chelonians. Care should be taken to provide UV radiation to arrest the growth of fungal and bacterial cultures that may cause shell rot disease. It is imperative that clean water is provided at all times. A filtration system complete with UV sterilizers is recommended.
Ernst, C.H. and R. W. Barbour. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press.
Herman, D.W. 1993. Reproduction and management of the Southeast Asian spiny turtle (Heosemys spinosa) in captivity. Herpetol. Natur. Hist. 1(1): 97-100.
Pritchard, P.C. H. 1979. Encyclopedia of Turtles. Neptune: T.F.H. Publ., Inc.
Another Similar type :
Asian Leaf Turtle
Common Name: Giant Asian pond turtle
Described by: Gray, 1860
Conservation Status: Vulnerable: IUCN Red List 2006
CITES: Appendix II
Range: Thailand (in lowland an hill areas of western, southeastern, and peninsular regions), Laos (in lowland and hill areas in central and southern regions), Vietnam (in lowland and hill areas of central and southern regions), Cambodia (in lowland and hill areas), Malaysia (Peninsular) and southern Myanmar.(Stuart et al., 2001)
Habitat: Aquatic. Streams and freshwater marshes at low to mid elevation. (Stuart et al., 2001)
Key Threats: Hunting and trade.
Distinguishing features: Head pale orange with faint black spots and streaks. Spikes in back edge of carapace. Pale vertebral keel on midline of carapace. Serrated rear margin of the carapace. Carapace is brown to olive gray in color. Plastron yellow with black lines radiating outward form a black blotch on each scute, although the black lines sometimes disappear in older animals. (Stuart et al., 2001)
Size: Carapace to 48 cm. (Stuart et al., 2001)
Male/Female: Males have a slightly concave plastron and longer, thicker tails. Females have flat plastrons and shorter tails.
Similar Species: The light colored dorsal line on the carapace, straight seam between femoral and anal scutes and lack of plastron hinge, distinguishes small individuals from Asian Leaf Turtles Cyclemys dentatacomplex. (Stuart et al., 2001)
Clutch size: 4-5 eggs(CNMA, 2002)
Diet: Omnivorous. Fruits, vegetation (especially leaves of water hyacinths), and animal matter. (Stuart et al., 2001)
Heosemys grandis head.
15-Mata Mata Turtle
Mata Mata Turtle Care Sheet
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine.com by AL ROACH
A young mata mata turtle that was captive hatched in the United States.
The mata mata turtle is one of the neatest-looking turtles on the planet. It looks like debris found at the bottom of a vernal pool, such as leaves. In the wild someone might walk right past a large specimen. The carapace contains brown, red and black coloration. The species has a wide head and a pointy nose. Its neck has a rigid texture to help with the camouflage. Hatchling mata matas are more brightly colored and appear whitish or yellowish like a tropical leaf.
Mata Mata Turtle Availability:
Mata mata turtles are quite available as of 2009. Although they are imported regularly, that might change in the near future. There is more supply than demand simply because the turtles grow so large and are not for beginners. Creating the proper enclosure for these turtles is one issue that keeps demand down.
Mata Mata Turtle Size:
Mata mata turtles can measure more than 2 feet long. However, the typical size ranges from 16 to 20 inches long for full-sized adults.
Mata Mata Turtle Life Span:
Exact details for the mata mata turtle life span is not really known, but most documentation shows the turtle’s average life is anywhere from 40 to 75 years. Some turtles can live more than 100 years if given the right care.
Mata Mata Turtle Caging:
Mata mata turtle like slightly acidic water with a pH near 5 or 6. Increase acidity by adding sphagnum moss, which is very acidic. Shallow water is a good idea. A water depth of 8 to 10 inches for an adult, or 3 to 4 inches for a hatchling, is sufficient. Although these turtles spend much of their time in the water, they don’t swim around much. They lie still on the bottom most of the time.
Larger mata mata turtles, 16 inches and longer, require larger tubs or setups at least 4 feet by 4 feet. Smaller turtles can do well in smaller enclosures. The enclosure should allow for adequate room for the mata mata to move around. Make sure you have good filtration with these turtles. Oxygen flow is key because it helps fight unwanted bacteria in the water. Water should be changed regularly and kept as clear as possible.
Aquatic plants or artificial plants can be added for hiding places, which help reduce a mata mata’s stress. A log, branch or rock is a good idea for a basking area. Avoid using big rocks in the enclosure because this can cause cuts and scrapes that can lead to shell rot.
Mata Mata Turtle Lighting and Temperature:
Water temperatures around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit are fine. Mata mata turtles are found in tropical environments, so they require higher temperatures. Position a basking light, such as a 75- to 150-watt heat bulb, about one foot above a basking spot. Add an additional UVB-emitting bulb for ultraviolet light. The basking area should be in the mid- to upper 90s.
Mata Mata Turtle Food:
Mata mata turtles are carnivores and prefer live fish. Minnows, platies, mollies, guppies, goldfish and sunfish are a fine selection. I have seen some turtles take night crawlers, as well. It is unusual to have them feed on commercial foods. You can keep the enclosure stocked with fish at all times and allow the mata mata to feed freely.
Be sure to put plenty of feeders fish in the mata mata's enclosure. It can be difficult for your mata mata to try to catch one or two fish when it is hungry. Try to keep it stocked with 30 or 40 fish at a time. It will eat many at first and then a few here and there throughout the next 4 or 5 days depending on the size of your mata mata. A full size mata mata around can eat feeder (small) goldfish or larger rosies (minnows).
Mata Mata Turtle Handling and Temperament:
I would advise against handling imported mata mata turtles until you get this species established and comfortable. This means the turtle is eating, active, and does not show any signs of illness or bad health. Mata mata turtles hatched in captivity can be handled a little more often, but small hatchlings should start eating and show signs of growth before you do much handling.