The Black-breasted Leaf Turtle is also called the Ryukyu-
Yama-Game, Ryukyu Black Breasted Leaf Turtle, Flat Jagged
Shell Turtle, Vietnamese Leaf Turtle, Black-breasted Leaf
Turtle, Chinese Leaf Turtle, and Vietnamese Wood Turtle.
This Asian Leaf Turtle has a flattish brown, chestnut,
mahogany or tan carapace that is serrated front and rear,
with three keels. The plastron is black or dark brown with
yellow or yellow-cream rings. The skin of the Black-breasted
Leaf Turtle is dark with colored spots or mottles, and
females have a yellowish-cream stripe down each side of the
head. Its feet are only semi-webbed, and it has large
bulging eyes with white irises.
Its scientific name is Geoemyda spengleri, and it is a one
of the world's smallest turtles, seldom reaching five inches
in length. The serrated shell and dark coloring of Asian
Leaf Turtles is what gives them their common names.
The Ryukyu Black Breasted Leaf Turtle's primarily
terrestrial or semi-aquatic home range is in the mountain
forests of Southern China, Vietnam, and the Sumatran
islands. It lives in places with high humidity and moderate
temperatures, near the streams or small brooks of mountain
forests, and feeds on insects, snails, worms, leaves, and
small fruits. It spends most of its time on land, burrowing
and exploring in the leaf litter, but does occasionally go
into the water.
Give a captive Chinese Black-breasted Leaf Turtle a large,
room-temperature vivarium with an easily cleaned pool and a
large land area with a substrate made from a combination of
potting soil and mulch or bark litter deep enough for
digging and burrowing.
There should be one shallow water dish large enough for
soaking in per turtle, and logs and plants under which to
hide. If the room in which their habitat is located is on
the cool side, you might add a basking spot with heat lamp
or spot light so they can move from cool to warm areas at
their choice and so regulate their body temperature. Mist
the vivarium daily to maintain humidity.
Provide a full-spectrum UV light for some hours per day, and
feed a primarily carnivorous omnivore diet of worms, snails,
slugs, crickets, and other live foods, supplemented with
occasional chopped vegetables such as Collard Greens and
carrots, soft fruits, and add a good reptile calcium and
vitamin D3 supplement sprinkled on all food.
Leaf Turtles are often bred in captivity. Most eggs are laid
during the winter months. They may lay four or five clutches
of eggs during the season, and the eggs are much larger than
you would expect for such a small turtle.
The eggs should be take from the habitat and kept on damp
vermiculite at a temperature of about seventy-eight degrees
Fahrenheit, and they will hatch within sixty to ninety days,
depending on temperature. New hatchlings will eat slugs and
small worms two weeks or so after hatching.
This striking-looking turtle can become tame and responsive
once it is used to its captive home, and makes an excellent,
long-lived pet. Captive bred animals are extremely hardy and
worth searching out.