West African Side Necked Turtles - Pelusious castaneus - West African Turtles
Pelusious Castaneus or the West African Sidenecked turtle is a species of the Pelomedusidae family most commonly found in Angola, Ghana, Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso and other West African countries. They inhabit slow moving or stagnant water bodies and are rarely found in rivers or large lakes. The West African Sidenecked turtles available to turtle hobbyists in North America are mostly imported from Ghana. They have long muscular necks that bend sideways when retracted in defense. The color of the carapace may vary from tan to brown or grey to black and in some cases might even be speckled with patterns and blotches. The Pelusious Castaneus is an average sized turtle that can grow up to 20 inches. The Western Africa Side Necked turtles have been a topic of fascination for both new and experienced hobbyists. They are easy to car, shy, docile and have charming eyes. This is a reccommended species for beginners. These West African turtles are also one of the oldest species known to us appearing 120 million years ago for the first time. It is very adaptable specie and blends easily in its new environment. The West African Sidenecked Turtle Habitat Naturally found in slow moving streams or still ponds and swamps the West African Sidenecked turtles prefer quiet water bodies with plenty of aquatic vegetation. These turtles are widely spread and are extremely habitat tolerant. The ease of care makes it one of the most popular turtles among hobbyists. The species is mostly aquatic and prefer to spend most of their time underwater. The West African Sidenecked turtles are active turtles and can be seen swimming or walking at the bottom. Water content and quality is important for these turtles. For a single adult Pelusious Castaneus a 50 gallon aquarium is recommended and for every additional turtle the water volume should be increased proportionally. It is important that the captive habitat is the closest simulation of the natural habitat to ensure proper growth of the West African Turtle. A variety of natural or artificial plants can be fitted in the aquarium. A few artificial floating plants or logs can also be placed in the water. The West African Sidenecked turtles are not very fond of basking and donÍt even need a separate dry area in the aquarium to bask. They would come to the shallow part of the aquarium or swim to the surface poke their neck out of the water and bask. A piece of artificial log or a rock poking out of the surface of water is sufficient for them to bask. A UVB light paired with a heating lamp should be fitted over whatever you chose to be the basking area. The West African turtles survive within a wide range of temperature however the ideal water temperature for these turtles is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The West African Sidenecked Turtle Diet The West African turtles are omnivores and can be assorted insects dabbed in calcium powder, small fishes, worms or green leafy vegetables in captivity. The Pelusious Castaneus are equally fond of commercial turtle pellets or canned turtle foods.