African Sideneck Turtle

African Sideneck Turtle Information

African Sideneck Turtle is a semi- aquatic turtle and it is different from previous one we posted. These turtles cannot completely hide their heads in their shells but they are known to fold their head underneath the upper edge of his shell after his head had been drawn to the side.

African Sideneck Turtle


African Sideneck Turtle belongs to the family Pelomedusidae, which encompasses several different species. It also known as African Mud Turtles or African Helmeted Turtles. These little swimmers lived in Africa, and Madagascar. They can be found in the wild in a range of natural habitats, such as shallow pools, large lakes, and rivers.


Care Requirement

You need at least 75-gallon tank or the larger the better for this turtle breed. Your turtle need to be able to swim and bask under the heating light, hence make sure to provide a dry dock by using floating dock or large rock, so your turtle can climb out of the water to dry off.

One more thing, try to invest in a quality water filter. African Sideneck turtles are more likely to defecate in the water. You can do weekly water changes if you do not want to spend your money. Some owner prefer canister filters while others like the smaller submersible filters. For a large tank, a quality canister filter is typically your best option.

Next, African Sideneck Turtles require heat from Sun but in your case a heat lamp should be just fine to maintain their body temperature. Heat lamps vary in wattage and should maintain an ambient temperature of around 80 F with a basking temperature of around 90 F. The temperature at night should never drop below 70F. Every turtles need UV lighting to properly metabolize calcium. A UV lamp should be keep around 12 hours per day. The bulbs need to be replaced every 6 to 9 months depend on the model and manufacturer.

African sidenecks are omnivores. They eat dark leafy vegetables, as well as insects, fish, crustaceans, and aquatic turtle pellets. You can also give turtle pellets but it should include the calcium and other vitamins and minerals that your turtle needs. Chicken or beef should never be fed to your aquatic turtle. Remove the uneaten food, so it doesn’t spoil or clog the filter.

African Sideneck Turtle


African Sideneck turtles have longer necks than most other species of turtles. This gives them an advantage over their fellow turtles. If they find themselves turned upside-down, these turtles can right themselves using their neck muscles. Most other turtles are helpless when turned on their shells. 

There are two barbels that extend from the animal’s lower jaw. These are sensory organs that look a lot like a beard. These turtles also feature feet that are slightly webbed, and they will have sharp, long claws as well. If you look at the face of this turtle breed, you might see it friendly face and most adorable large round eyes with mouth that constantly smiling.

  • Length: 7 to 12 inches
  • Type: Semi – aquatic
  • Color: Tan and dark brown, Gray and black. Generally darker on the plastron (lower shell) and it head will be anywhere from olive to brown in color. There is a black marking on the top of the head.

Heath Treatment

African Sideneck Turtle often carry salmonella and other pathogens that can spread to humans. Wash your hands after handling them is a must. It is best to look for a turtle at a reputable breeder or rescue group that can give you details on the animal history and health. There are other symptoms that you need to watch out to keep them in good condition. Such as:

  • Gastrointestinal parasites: Poor appetite and abnormal feces
  • Respiratory infections: Habitat too cold
  • Shell rot or Ulcers: Unsanitary habitat or Improper diet

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