The Argentine Snake-necked Turtle with the
long and flat neck and head
The Argentine Snake-necked Turtle, as you might imagine from
its name, has a very long, flattened neck and head. This
turtle comes from South America, and is found in Southern
Brazil, Northern Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Its
scientific name is Hydromedusa tectifera.
This turtle is a large one, the larger females growing to up
to twelve inches long, and it often has a high keel down its
dark, flat, oval carapace. It has black stripes down the
side of its head, and a broad yellowish stripe with a black
border from its nose back along its neck. The front and back
legs have four claws each, and the plastron is yellow or
yellow with black mottles.
In the wild, the Snake-necked turtle uses its long neck to
snorkel air while underwater, and to search the pond bottom
for prey such as small fish, amphibians, and snails. In
captivity it is good to keep feeder fish living in the tank
so that the turtles can catch their own snacks. If you do
so, once they are adult you will only need to feed them once
This turtle is a strict carnivore, and will likely not eat
pelleted food. A good diet for them is pinkie mice, snails,
feeder fish, worms, crickets, chicken or fish cubes, and
turtle food if they will accept it.
You will need to provide your pet Snake-Necked turtles with
a large tank of at least 90 to 120 gallons. This species
needs excellent water quality to prevent fungal infections,
and a very low pH ranging between 5.0 and 5.8. They also
must have a basking area with a smooth access and soft
substrate to prevent shell damage, and a strong UVB light
and basking lamp.
To help prevent stress, provide plenty of plants and
underwater hiding spots. The best climate for this turtle is
an air temperature in the low to mid 80s F., with the
basking area in the mid to high 80s F. and the water in the
low to mid 70s F.
The Snake-necked turtle is often nervous and shy in the
wild, and may remain that way in captivity, although some
captive turtles tame well and will happily eat from your
hand. It is very interesting to watch them feed, as they
will use their long necks to strike their live prey (fish,
crayfish, shrimp, crickets, etc.) like a snake.