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Madagascar Big Headed Side Necked Turtle - Erymnochelys madigascariensis - Madagascar Big Headed Turtle

Madagascar Big Headed Side Necked Turtle - Erymnochelys madigascariensis - Madagascar Big Headed Turtle
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Aquarium suitability:
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Easy with Proper Care
Extreme Friendly
South America
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The Erymnochelys Madagascareinsis or the Madagascar Big Headed Side necked turtle is native of the slow moving streams, rivers and swamps of the Madagascar Island. Most commonly found in the lowland basins of the Mangoky River in south Madagascar and the Sambirano region in the North. It has a tough dark brown carapace that covers the softer and more vulnerable parts of the body. As the name suggests the Madagascar Bid Headed turtles have a distinctive “big” head. Hatchlings and Juveniles have delicate coloration and patterns of black on the shell that becomes prominent with age. The Madagascar Big Headed turtle is a member of the “side-neck” species which means when threatened its head does not retract straight in to the shell it, it bends under the carapace. It is closely related to the South American Podocnemis turtle and is an excellent swimmer and a vicious carnivorous predator that lives on amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and pretty much everything that moves. The Madagascar Big Headed Side necked turtles are both feared and respected by the people of Madagascar for their agility and aggression. The Erymnochelys Madagascareinsis is an important food item for the people of Madagascar who have hunted it to the brink of extinction. The Madagascar big headed turtles are also exported to Asian Countries for medicinal purposes. Now the species is extremely rare and protected. Breeders in North America have bred a few samples of the specie in captivity and have made them available to turtle hobbyists.

The Madagascar Big Headed Side Necked turtle Habitat

The Madagascar Big Headed turtles are natives of fresh water bodies and prefer slow moving streams and swamps. They do pretty well in either shallow or deep water bodies. The females often lay their eggs in densely vegetated water and in many cases paddy fields. The hatchlings and the juveniles prefer such habitat where they feel safer and grow quickly and return to larger water bodies. The adult can grow up to 20 inches and require a huge water tank. At least a 125 gallon tank is recommended. Considering the activity of the Madagascar Big Headed Side Necked turtles you should try to get an even bigger. Rubber tanks would also be sufficient. The turtles prefer the safety of dark walls over transparent glass walls. The water should be non-chlorinated and filtered at regular intervals. The aquarium should be lined with gravels and rocks and a basking platform of raised wood or protruding rock should be fitted in the aquarium. A UVB light and a heating lamp should be fitted over the basking area.

The Madagascar Big Headed Side Necked Turtle Diet

The Madagascar Big Headed turtles are carnivores when young feeding on insects, fishes, tadpoles, etc. as they mature they become omnivores with more inclination to meat. In captivity you can feed them fish slices, meat, beef heart, bloodworms, earthworms, assorted insects and commercial turtle pellets dabbed in powdered calcium and vitamins. The Madagascar Big Headed Side Neck turtles should be fed a balanced diet twice a week to prevent overgrowth and obesity.

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