Japanese Wood Turtles - Mauremys japonica - Japanese Pond Turtles
Mauremys japonica or the Japanese pond turtle is one of the very few species of Japanese turtle that has made it to the favorites among international pet trade. It is named nihonishigameor ñthe stone turtleî in Japanese. Due to loss of habitat the Japanese pond turtle is on the verge of extinction. It is already an endangered species and breeders all over the world are trying to breed them in captivity. The Japanese Pond turtle is usually brown from head to tail. The tail is a lighter shade of brown and can even be olive or tan in some cases. The head might be speckled with black spots and both sides of its head have dark blotches.The ventral part of the turtle is almost entirely black. The carapace is round and slightly serrated with a medial keel that runs along its full length. The keel is black. The carapacial scutes might have minute ridges. The posterior end of the carapace is highly serrated. The plastron is slightly notched. Its forelimbs are clawed and it has a long tail. Females of the species often grow up to 7 inches but mostly their size falls between 5-6 inches. The Japanese Pond Turtle Habitat The Japanese Pond Turtle are endemic to the islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyshu. They are strong and efficient swimmers and inhabit fast current streams and rivers, lakes and canals. They prefer deep water bodies with a strong current and plenty of aquatic plants. The Mauremys japonica are semi-aquatic and require to be housed in a terrarium. They are active turtles and can be seen walking around or swimming throughout the day. They need as much area as you can offer them. Even though they only grow up to 7 inches a 50-60 gallon water tank is recommended. The water tank should be constructed into a terrarium with 40 percent land and 60 percent water area. The water area should be fitted with a submerged heater, an air pump and a water filter. Sedimentation should be avoided and cleared and the complete water volume should be filtered atleast twice every day. You can use river rocks, gravels, sand or saw dust as a substrate. A variety of artificial or natural plants should be planted both inside the water and on the land area. A dry spot should be set up as a basking area. A heating lamp and a UVB light should be fitted over this area. The basking temperature should be regulated around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Frequent misting would keep the vivarium moist and humid. The Japanese pond turtles are extremely hardy turtles and within a few days they get acquainted with their keepers. They might even swim to the surface to greet their keepers. Handling and picking is advised only when they are comfortable and have adapted the new environment and their keepers. However they are not very sociable to other species and should be kept and bred in isolation. The Japanese Pond Turtle Diet The Japanese Pond Turtle is essentially omnivore with an inclination towards flesh food. In captivity you can feed them chunks of fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, chicken livers, worms and insects.