Argentine Side Necked Turtle - Phrynops hilarii - Spot-Bellied Turtle
The Phrynops Hilarii or the Argentine Side Necked turtle aka the Spot-Bellied turtle as they are popularly known is one of the most spectacular species of turtles. The Argentine Side Necks are mostly found in the Amazon region of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina in South America. These are large turtle growing up to 16 inches. The male of the species is smaller and can grow up to 12-13 inches. It has a characteristic black stripe extending on both sides from the nostrils, across the eyes to the neck. Another pair of black stripes is usually present on its throat. It has a yellow-orange plastron with black spots. The patterns of dots on each turtle are like fingerprints. These spots give the Argentine Side Necked Turtle its Uruguayan name ñTortuga de vientre manchadoî or the Spot-Bellied turtle. The carapace of the Phrynops Hilarii is non-serrated and oval. The color of the carapace varies from olive to dark brown and grey. Another characteristic feature of this species is the barbels hanging under the jaw. There are a few turtles that have a smile as charming as the Argentine Side Necked Turtle. The Argentine Side Necked Turtles Habitat The Phrynops Hilarii is the native of the water bodies of the amazon forests that are abundant with aquatic vegetation especially, reeds, water lettuce, lentils and water lilies. It is essential to design an aquarium that best resembles its natural habitat. The Argentine Side Necked turtles are not very active and prefer to bask a lot. However these are excellent swimmers and need larger and deeper aquariums than many other turtles. You might fix caves as hiding places and standing decors. Watching the turtles swim through these is quite a sight. An adult female should be kept in a 200 gallon water tank and a male can be kept in a 180 gallon water tank. Such huge tank is necessary to facilitate proper filtration and to provide sufficient swimming area. Add at least 100 gallons for every additional Spot Bellied Turtle. The Argentine Side Necked turtles are basking turtles and a spacious and dry basking spot is recommended. A UVB light along with a heating lamp should be affixed in the basking area. While the heating lamp generates enough heat to keep them warm a UVB light helps the Argentine Snake Necked turtles in vitamin synthesis and boosts their immunity. If you are planning on keeping these turtles with other fishes or even smaller turtles we would advise against it. DonÍt let the sweet smile fool you the Argentine Snake necked turtles are often aggressive and might even eat smaller turtles. The Argentine Snake Necked turtles Diet The Argentine Snake Necked Turtles are essentially carnivores and feed on small fishes, tadpoles, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic insects, crickets and worms. They are excellent predators and can be fed live meat. In captivity you can feed them assorted worms, Cichlid Sticks, Mazuri and ReptoMin, pre-killed small fish, earthworms, snails or balls of meat ground with supplements such as calcium, protein and vitamins.