Animal Health General Animal Information

Pink Belly Sideneck Turtle EGGS!~Crazy Critters

As the name suggests, Pink Belly Sideneck Turtles typically has a red-pink belly with a grey shell and a breastplate of grey-coral pink. There are two yellow stripes on the neck with the pink-bellied side-necked turtle (Emydura subglobosa) heads typically being colored green and grey.

Originally found in Papua New Guinea and Australia, this turtle also goes by the name of Red Belly OR Pink Belly Sideneck Turtle.

Usually hatching at 1.25 inches in length, the species can grow up to 10 inches after a decade. Distinguishing the sexes can be done when the turtle is roughly 5 inches in length. Males will typically have thicker tails while females have shorter and slighter tails.

Because of their beautiful shell and their even temperament, these turtles are considered favorites in the reptile world. Other than Snapping Turtles and Large Musk Turtles, The Pink Belly Sideneck Turtle is known for its ability to adapt with other turtle species. It is estimated that the breed can live up to 50 years.

A single pink-bellied side-necked turtle hatchling, at about 4 inches long, needs a 20-gallon aquarium at a minimum. The species does well in groups, provided the size of the enclosure is increased by at least 10 percent for each additional turtle. As the hatchling grows, its area should be increased by 10 gallons for each inch it grows. Adults reach lengths of 8 to 9 inches. If the water isn’t constantly flowing, the turtle benefits from a filtration system to keep its water clean between changes. River sand at the floor of the enclosure mimics the turtle’s natural habitat. Rocks, greenery, cork bark, and partially-submerged logs or other ramps enable the turtle to leave the water when it wants to bask.

Originally rare, the Pink Belly Sideneck Turtle has been successfully bred in captivity, hence the strong supply of the species in the market. Like all other turtles, the pink belly digs holes to bury their eggs inside. Breeders can let the eggs hatch naturally or use an incubator for safety and to speed up the process.

These aquatic turtles come out of the water to lay between 7 and 14 eggs, with 10 being the average. The eggs are hard-shelled, oval-shaped and usually about an inch long.  An early sign of viability is the yolk settling to the bottom half of the shell. You should mark the top with a pencil. Marking with the date will help in the future.

Using a clean plastic food container. The size of the container will depend on the number and size of the eggs but has to be shallow enough to fit inside the incubator. The eggs should touch each other in a single layer. Another pad of damp newspaper is placed compactly over the top of the eggs. The lids need holes cut into them for ventilation. Some hobbyists prefer a Vermiculite.  but others use newspaper as the base and cover have been successful from what we have read..

The eggs in their containers are incubated in an electric incubator kept at 81° – 83° F. for 42 to 49 days.

The babies hatch in a position inside the shell with its head turned to the side and tucked into the axillary hollow (between the neck and front leg). The hatchling must rotate in the shell, when ready to hatch. In doing so, its caruncle (egg tooth) cuts a circular ring all around the shell at the head end.  They usually do not hatch immediately, but will sit in the egg peering out of the hole they have made until they feel ready to emerge.

Habitat

A single pink-bellied side-necked turtle hatchling, at about 4 inches long, needs a 20-gallon aquarium at a minimum. The species does well in groups, provided the size of the enclosure is increased by at least 10 percent for each additional turtle. As the hatchling grows, its area should be increased by 10 gallons for each inch it grows. Adults reach lengths of 8 to 9 inches. If the water isn’t constantly flowing, the turtle benefits from a filtration system to keep its water clean between changes. River sand at the floor of the enclosure mimics the turtle’s natural habitat. Rocks, greenery, cork bark, and partially-submerged logs or other ramps enable the turtle to leave the water when it wants to bask.

Temperature and Lighting

Pink-bellied side-necked turtles are aquatic turtles and spend most of their time in the water. They do require daylight and do best in natural sunlight. If they are kept indoors, they need a full-spectrum light, or the combination of a 75-watt spotlight and a Vita-lite or other UVB bulbs, during daylight hours. They do best in water kept at temperatures between 66 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, although hatchlings need somewhat warmer water with temperatures in the low 70’s to low 80’s. The temperature of the turtles’ water can be monitored with a thermometer permanently affixed to the side of their tank.

Diet and Feeding

In the wild, these turtles feed primarily on crustaceans, mollusks and aquatic insects that share their river habitat. Captive pink-bellied side-necked turtles don’t have overly-specific dietary requirements and eat a variety of plants and animals. They easily adjust to whatever feeding schedule their owner finds convenient, as long as they’re fed approximately every other day. While commercial turtle pellets and cut fish are adequate, pink-bellied side-necked turtles also enjoy a variety of vegetables, worms, chicken and lean beef.

Behavior and Temperament

These turtles swim fast and are very active, especially in warmer water. They also breed well in captivity. As aquatic turtles, they feel safest in water, coming out rarely. When they do bask, they usually sit on rocks or logs that are partially submerged in the water. With a few exceptions, such as American snapping turtles, they get along well with most other turtle species, making them an easy species to add to an existing pond habitat.

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