Western Caspian Pond Turtle - Mauremys caspica rivulata - Striped-Neck Terrapin
Mauremys Caspica Rivulata or the Caspian Pond Turtle aka the Striped-Neck Terrapin is a Eurasian species found in the eastern Mediterranean and Balkan regions extending to Israel. Highly tolerant to water pollution, the Caspian turtle survives in a wide variety of slow flowing streams, ponds and even in water polluted with industrial and domestic waste. They survive a multitude of chemicals, pH levels and temperature ranges. If the water levels are too low for survival the Caspian pond turtles tend to aestivate through the dry season. The Mauremys Caspica Rivulata contrary to popular belief is a rather attractive species. The carapace has a monotonous olive to greenish brown coloration the attractive vivid stripes on the neck make up for its look. It has narrow and fine reticulates on its carapace and a completely black plastron that might turn to yellow with age. A few prized Western Caspian Turtles have reddish brown spots or patterns on the carapace. Female Western Caspian Pond Turtles are larger than males and grow up to 25 centimeters. The Western Caspian Pond Turtle Habitat The Western Caspian turtles are found in a variety of habitat ranging from free flowing fresh water mountain streams to ponds and city drainage systems. They are found in rock pools, seasonal ponds, lagoons, lakes and even irrigation ditches. However, these are some of the reasons why the species is endangered. While hundreds die because of the pesticides in the irrigation ditches a large number die because of industrial wastes dumped in water bodies. In captivity the keeper should ensure that the water tank has fresh non-chlorinated water. The thumb rule _ If the water is safe for you to drink it is safe for the turtles to live, applies to the Mauremys Caspica Rivulata as well. An air pump and an under water filter should be placed in the aquarium that provides a complete water cycle every 90 minutes. You might add a UV sterilizer to the water tank to prevent unwanted algal and bacterial growth. The Western Caspian turtle is very fond of basking and the keeper should provide a basking area with ample warmth and a UVB light. A 50 gallon water tank is recommended for a single Western Caspian Pond Turtle if you are planning to keep a pair you should get a 90 gallon aquarium. For every other turtle add 40 gallons to the tank. The optimum water temperature range is 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit and the optimum basking temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Western Caspian Pond Turtle Diet Mauremys Caspica Rivulata is one of the toughest turtle to be kept as a pet in North America because of its different eating habits. The Western Caspian Pond turtle has an unknown special favorite that most keepers fail to provide. Besides this unknown ingredient the Western Caspian Turtle eats larvae, mollusks, earthworms, crustaceans, small fishes, tadpoles and filamentous algae. The Mauremys Caspica Rivulata is also a scavenger and loves to eat carrion. Feeding them three days in a week is sufficient. More feeding will lead to hygiene issues and unnatural growth.