African sideneck turtle subspecies are not officially recognised. But because they resemble the African helmeted turtle so much, people commonly confuse the two. They are also referred to as West African mud turtles.
Due to their inability to fully retract their heads into their shells, African sidenecks instead draw their heads to the side and beneath the upper edge of their shells, earning them the nickname.
Size of an African Sideneck Turtle
African sidenecks are on the larger side of the range and can grow to be between 7 and 12 inches long as adults. Females tend to grow larger than males do. Male sidenecks can grow up to 10 inches in length at their largest.
Lifespan of an African Sideneck Turtle
African sideneck turtles can easily live for a few decades if given the right care. According to some reports, some species can survive in captivity for more than 50 years.
appearance of an African sideneck turtle
African sidenecks are typically dark in colour, and the area under their bellies, known as the plastrons, is a broad, ill-defined shade of yellow. They have two barbels (sensory organs that stick out from the lower jaw like beards), which are olive to brown in colour and have black markings on top. They have long, sharp claws or nails on lightly webbed feet. The two barbel nubs on the chin of this young African sideneck turtle are visible in the image below.
Helmeted turtle, sideneck turtle, and african mud turtle
Laurent Lebois contributed this picture to Flickr Creative Commons (click image to se larger view)
The African sideneck has a face that can be described as cute, with a mouth that is fixed into a smiling shape and big round eyes, in contrast to many turtle species that have more serious reptilian features. It seems to be playing coy when it pulls its head to the side and tucks it under its shell.
Although there aren’t any recognised subspecies, the African sideneck can exist in three different forms. The turtle has three different shell colours: the “regular form,” which is as previously described; the “rainforest form,” in which the turtle exhibits an entirely dark brown or black shell; and the “savannah form,” which has a lighter, buttery caramel hue with a fully developed yellow plastron.
Care Level for African Sideneck Turtle
West African mud turtles/sideneck turtles are best left to intermediate and experienced turtle keepers due to their environmental requirements, modest size, and long longevity. They are resilient turtles, nevertheless, and can endure starvation.
Diet of an African Sideneck Turtle
What to Feed Your African Sideneck and When
African sidenecks are omnivores in the wild and will eat anything, including local fish, vegetation, and insects. The secret to feeding your African sideneck well is diversity. No matter how much your turtle like a certain cuisine, you should always provide it a variety of foods to avoid it becoming fixated on one particular type. Don’t overfeed your turtles in addition to providing variety. Every second or third day, feed adult sidenecks as much as they can consume in a few seconds.
Insects and protein should make up the majority of your sideneck turtle’s food while it is still young and developing. They often lose the majority of their carnivorous impulses as they age.
You can give your sideneck earthworms, snails, clams, fish, aquatic insects, cooked chicken, beef hearts, crustaceans, and perhaps a few small amphibians as sources of meat proteins. Stick to nutrient-rich greens like spinach, romaine, and red-leaf lettuce for the foliage (never iceberg). Additionally, you can give your turtle chopped collard greens, weeds, and various veggies.
As aquatic turtles, sidenecks eat in their tanks, which can result in messy meals. Simply remove your turtle from its tank and feed it in a different container to avoid regular tank cleanings. To prevent food antagonism and feeding frenzies, we advise feeding many turtles one at a time as mentioned above.
We also advise giving your turtle a calcium block or other vitamin and mineral supplements from time to time to ensure that it is getting the proper quantities of minerals.
Health of African Sideneck Turtle
Similar to other cold-blooded animals, it’s critical to meet their needs for lighting, heating, and nutrition. Other than that, African sideneck turtles are very tough animals. So, before you even bring your pet turtle home, it’s a good idea to have a reptile vet on standby. Contact your reptile veterinarian as soon as you can if you believe your West African mud turtle may be ill.
Your turtle may develop the following common ailments throughout the course of its lifetime:
Parasites (internal and external) (internal and external)
Regularly weigh your turtle to keep an eye on its weight. Dehydration or an illness may be to blame for a big and unexplained weight change.
Calcium and vitamin D3 deficiency
Swollen eyes, limbs, and open skin sores are signs of vitamin D3 and/or calcium deficiency in African sideneck turtles.
Finally, your turtle may have a parasite issue if you see little worms swimming around in its tank, if it is unable to swim or breathe properly, or if a lot of bubbles are emerging from its snout.
Behavior of African Sideneck Turtles
African sideneck turtles are hardy, energetic, of average size, and are found in large numbers in the wild. They are fantastic pets and generally little maintenance, although they may be curious nearly to the point of aggression. They can also be hostile toward one another, but this usually happens when they are eating, mating, or kept in an unclean or cramped habitat. Although they are not known for being violent toward people, if they feel anxious they might try to flee by using their claws.
African sidenecks are a terrific choice if you’re seeking for a pet that will entertain you and produce a unique presentation.
Supplies for the Environment Habitat or Aquarium Setup of the African Sideneck Turtle
African sidenecks can be kept either inside or outside, depending on the weather where you live. Only keep African sideneck turtles outside when the weather is warm because they do not hibernate seasonally like some other species.
We’ll focus primarily on indoor housing standards in this article. West African mud turtles/sidenecks just need a few things to live happily:
a dry area
As a turtle tank, you can use a variety of items, such as all-glass aquariums, sizable Rubbermaid totes, baby pools, specially made enclosures, etc.
A space measuring 6 feet by 3 feet and holding between 125 and 175 gallons of water will be adequate for a group of adult West African mud turtles. A 40-gallon glass aquarium will work just well for lone turtles.
Always choose a turtle tank that is broader rather than higher. Turtles prefer to float, dive, and bask; they don’t jump. The recommended depth of your water is between 6 and 8 inches; it should be at least 1.5 times the length of your turtle.
The one decorating item you must have is a location where your turtle can emerge from the water to dry off, preferably in the glow of a basking lamp.
You have two options for substrate: large pebbles or gravel (too big to swallow), or nothing at all. Any substrate will gather food and digestion waste, which increases the time required for cleanup.
You can either change the water regularly, such as every few days, to maintain your turtle tank clean. You may get a tank filter from your neighbourhood pet store to keep the water reasonably clean in between cleanings; just make sure it is strong enough and has a flow rate of 350 gallons per hour.
Branching and Cover
It makes sense to fill your turtle tank with items that can be found in the turtle’s natural environment. This includes driftwood, huge flat rocks (some of which should be utilised to form an above-water basking place beneath the UVB basking lamp), cork bark slabs, and vegetation in the case of the African sideneck.
Sidenecks don’t actually “climb” trees, but they can climb inclines because to their strong claws on their feet. You should provide your turtle with aquarium-safe logs and other forms of wood, but make sure you position them so that it can’t use them as a ramp to escape the tank. Otherwise, you risk having an injured turtle on your hands.
The sideneck has to be able to hide away when necessary, especially in a multi-turtle habitat where it will need to occasionally hide from other turtles that are acting aggressively. A mixture of artificial and live plants is acceptable, but make sure there are sufficient of both.
Light and Heat
An undertank heater or overhead fluorescent and incandescent lamps can be used to give lighting. To guarantee that proper temperatures are maintained, always use digital thermometers in conjunction with your lights. The water in your turtle’s tank should be between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ambient room temperature should remain in the low 80s while the basking area should be maintained at a temperature of 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Not only do lights provide warmth. African sideneck turtles and other aquatic turtles also benefit from ultraviolet radiation, especially UVB rays. The vitamin D3 that these rays give turtles can keep them healthy. Remember that any plastic, plexiglass, or glass that blocks UVB/UVA lamps will stop the beneficial rays from reaching your turtle. Also, even though the bulb is still emitting light, UVB lights gradually lose their UVB intensity. Make a note on your calendar to swap out the UVB bulbs every nine months.
Your African sideneck turtle will spend a lot of time with you if you give it the right habitat and diet.
Habitat and history of the African Sideneck Turtle
The West African nations of Angola, Guinea, Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Congo are home to the African sideneck. During the rainy season, they reside in rivers, lakes, and ponds. During the dry season, they bury themselves deeply in the mud (a process known as estivating). When it gets too warm, they have also been known to hibernate underground in burrows before surfacing when the weather is ideal once more.
PetSmart Crabs – The Right Way to Care For Your Pet Crabs
There are a number of things that you should keep in mind when you are looking for PetSmart crabs to purchase for your pet. Some of these factors include their cost, how long they will live for, and how to care for them. Also, you should consider the type of tank that you will use for them.
When it comes to hermit crabs, PetSmart is probably the first place you think of. They are relatively inexpensive and can be fun to keep. If you want to find a store near you, you can check out their website.
Although the company has an online presence, you can usually get a good deal by visiting a local brick and mortar store. You can also take a look at their website to see if they have any special deals going on.
There are several things to consider before deciding which hermit crab to purchase. The life expectancy of your pet depends on how well you care for it. For example, a hermit crab’s life span will depend on how well you maintain its terrarium. It also requires proper ventilation, humidity, and fresh water.
Other considerations include the size of the tank you choose. The size of the tank is largely determined by how many crabs you wish to house. For instance, a 10-gallon tank will fit a couple of males and one or two females. However, a larger tank may be a better option if your crabs are aggressive.
If you’re looking to buy your first pet, chances are you’ve done your research. You may have even consulted with an employee at your local pet store. They are supposed to be the role models for responsible pet care. However, what is the right way to treat your petsmart hermit crab?
There are a few tricks of the trade to keep your hermit happy and healthy. The most important is creating a home environment that will make them feel safe and secure. This means providing them with a suitable habitat with plenty of room to explore.
One of the best ways to do this is to provide them with an adequate supply of fresh water. Water temperature and salinity should be adjusted to suit your crab’s needs. Make sure to also feed your hermit a variety of fresh fruits, veggies, and grains.
Another way to ensure your pet is in good health is to provide it with a well-lit environment. While you may not want to put your hermit under the spotlight, a little natural lighting can go a long way towards ensuring your pet’s well being.
Cost of a crab tank
Red Claw Crabs are relatively easy pets to keep for beginners. They require an aquarium tank with a capacity of 10 gallons. However, you’ll also need a reliable filtration system.
Purchasing a tank with a filtration system is a necessary component of red claw crab care. It helps to keep the salinity and pH levels in check, and can help prevent any toxicity in the water.
Red Claw Crabs are sensitive to the water they live in. If the conditions in the tank are poor, they will be stressed and may even become ill.
Crabs need a lot of room to move around and to molt. They should have a tank that is about 60 cm wide. This will allow them to move easily, but also give them enough space to burrow under the substrate.
Hermit crabs need plenty of water. You should change about 10 percent of the water in your tank every week.
Appropriate tank mates for a Vampire Crab
Vampire crabs are a great addition to your aquarium. They are small creatures that are easy to care for and can be very attractive. However, it is important to keep them in the right environment so that they can thrive.
If you are considering getting a vampire crab, it is essential to understand its unique requirements. For instance, they are very sensitive to changes in water quality and temperature. Therefore, you must keep them in a clean and well-maintained tank.
The ideal tank for vampire crabs should be about 10 gallons. This will give them plenty of space to move around. Also, they prefer to live in groups.
Aside from the tank, you should also add plenty of plants. These can be of several types. You may even want to add floating plants.
In order to keep a healthy tank, you should change 40% of the water in the tank every month. You can also add a humidifier to maintain the desired level of humidity.
8 Best Filters For Turtle Tanks
- Canister filters: These filters are powerful and efficient, and are great for larger turtle tanks.
- Power filters: These filters are easy to install and maintain, and are suitable for smaller turtle tanks.
- Underwater filters: These filters are designed to be placed inside the tank, and are great for keeping the water clean and clear.
- Hang-on-back filters: These filters are easy to install and maintain, and are suitable for both small and large turtle tanks.
- Sponge filters: These filters are simple and efficient, and are great for keeping the water clean and clear.
- Box filters: These filters are great for larger turtle tanks, and are designed to be placed outside the tank.
- Bio-filters: These filters are designed to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, which help to keep the water clean and clear.
- UV sterilizers: These filters use ultraviolet light to kill harmful bacteria and parasites, and are great for keeping the water clean and clear.
Aquatic Turtle Filters & Pumps
Are geckos venomous?
A gecko rarely bites, although they can do so if they feel threatened or are acting aggressively in their territory. Due to their extreme timidity, it is more likely that they will flee than that they will attack.
When threatened, biting
A gecko may feel frightened by loud noises or quick movements. They move fast and wave their tail in the air when they feel threatened. Approaching them when handling them should be done carefully and cautiously. Quick hand motions may frighten them. They might start to perceive you as a threat if you are tense and rapidly draw your hand back, which will make your gecko bite.
Children have the potential to threaten geckos easily. Geckos should always be handled by minors under adult supervision. It might be wise to wait a few more weeks before introducing new people to your gecko if they are still becoming used to you and act anxious when you hold them. Always make sure the location of your tank is secure and peaceful.
Biting when famished
If your gecko thinks your fingers are food, they could mistakenly bite you when they’re hungry. Before attempting to hold them, extend your palm in front of them to occupy their attention so that your hands won’t awaken their innate need to hunt.
If your gecko makes short, jerky movements as you approach and seems excited, you might be able to determine whether it’s hungry. Before attempting to handle them, replenish their bowl and let them feed so you don’t get bitten.
Male geckos can get aggressive at times. They may fight because of their drive to contend with other geckos for mates and territory.
This issue will be mainly resolved by keeping them apart, but if they think you are a rival, they might bite. This typically occurs if you handle a gecko one at a time while leaving a scent remnant of the first gecko on your hands. You only need to gently wash your hands to prevent this.
Personalities of geckos
Rarely will you come across a gecko that is aggressive and frequently bites. They frequently adopt a protective stance, lifting their tail and slowly swinging it around. An aggressive gecko is unlikely to bite you if you try to pick it up, although they might charge and snap. If you notice these behaviours in a gecko you intend to purchase, it is best to leave them alone.
If the gecko you own frequently exhibits this kind of aggression, it might just be their personality. As they get used to you, they might stop being so agitated if you check on them frequently. Sadly, there isn’t a simple way to teach them to be less hostile.
Some geckos who behave in this manner are maintained as ornamental pets. It is preferable to just leave them alone if they become combative and bite whenever they are touched.
Are gecko bites painful?
In contrast to other lizard species, geckos’ bites rarely cause pain and merely leave a minor skin scrape. Although they have teeth, they are rarely strong enough to pierce human skin.
However, a gecko bite might result in a bacterial infection, so if you get bitten, always make sure to gently wash the area with antibacterial soap.
With the assistance of our presenters, Animal-Club offers animal parties or animal handling workshops where you can see, learn about, and interact with reptiles and other amazing animals. Our mobile zoo is full of amiable creatures that are ideal for an animal party, including bunnies, tarantulas, geckos, vinegaroons, and more. We can also set up an animal workshop where the kids can learn how to take care of their pets while having fun at your school or come over for an animal school visit.
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