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  • African Keeled Mud Turtle - Pelusios carinatus
  • African Keeled Mud Turtle - Pelusios carinatus

African Keeled Mud Turtle - Pelusios carinatus

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Pelusios Carinatus or the African Keeled mud turtle as is its common name is endemic to the Congo River basin in Africa. It is found in Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Gabon. These are medium sized turtles that prefer the wilderness and quiet of a forest landscape and closed water habitats. They can grow up to 24 centimeters or 9.5 inches in carapace length. The African Keeled Mud turtle has a comparatively flat posterior end carapace that rises at the center to form a keel. The keel is an extension of its vertebrae and runs medially across the length of its carapace. The carapace is non-serrated and round. These are probably the only mud turtles that have keels and hence form the evolutionary link between keeled turtles and mud turtles. On the while the carapace is slightly domed. Hatchlings and juveniles of the species are slightly bigger than a quarter. The hatchlings have a completely black carapace with white patches on the rim. As the turtle matures even the rim loses the white patches and turns black. The plastron is broad on the posterior end but gradually loses width and is narrow at the bottom. The plastron might vary from yellow to cream or beige. The posterior rim of the plastron is usually black but the rest of the plastron shows uniformity of color. The head limbs and the rest of the body is steel greyor brown with cream colored speckles. The forelimb has long sharp claws that often injure the female during the mating process. The African Keeled Mud Turtle Habitat The African Keeled Mud Turtle is native to one of the most densely planted rivers in the world. They are essentially found in the Congo river but isolated population have also been found in surrounding and originating water bodies. They prefer closed habitat such as swamps, streams, marshes and ponds with low predator activity lots of aquatic plants and a forest or woody landscape all around. For those who want to keep or breed them in captivity a 50 gallon water-tank is recommended. On addition of every new turtle the size of the water tank should be upgraded by 25 gallons. The water should be regularly filtered and de-chlorinated. The aquarium should have a profusion of natural and artificial plants. The Pelusios Carinatus prefers soft bottom habitat. The bottom of the water tank should be lined with sand, soil, gravels, river rock or saw dust. The African Keeled Mud turtle are suited to the tropical weather conditions of Congo. The temperature of the aquarium should be maintained around 85degrees Fahrenheit and it should be frequently misted. A dry basking platform should be set up complete with a heating lamp -- to keep the temperature around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and a UVB light to assist the turtle in calcium synthesis. The African Keeled Mud Turtle Diet The Pelusios Carinatus like all other mud turtles are omnivores. Besides commercial turtle pellets available in pet stores you can feed them sliced vegetables and fruits, romaine lettuce, chunks of meat, fish, worms and insects. Calcium and vitamin supplements should be fed once or twice a week to keep them healthy and nourished.