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Australian Short Neck

Side Neck Turtles

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Australia has two basic types of turtles (Australians call
them all tortoises.), the long-snake-necked species and the
short-necked species. Australia does not allow export of its
native turtles, but the native ranges of some species extend
out of Australia and others have been captive-bred for some
years, so a number of Australian turtles are currently sold
in the pet trade.

The Emydura genus contains a number of species which might
be sold with the common name of Australian Short-neck or
Side-neck Turtle, among them are the:

- Brisbane Short-necked Turtle (Emydura macquarii signata)
- Clarence River Turtle (Emydura macquarii binjing),
- Hunter River Turtle (Emydura macquarii gunabarra),
- Jardine River Turtle (Emydura subglobosa)
- Krefft's Turtle (Emydura krefftii),

- North-West Red-Faced Turtle (Emydura australis),
- Northern Yellow-Faced Turtle (Emydura victoriae),
- MacLeay River Turtle (Emydura macquarii dharra),
- Macquarie/Murray River Turtle (Emydura macquarii
- Pink-bellied Side-neck Turtle (Emydura subglobosa
- Red-bellied Short-necked Turtle (Emydura subglobosa)
- Sydney Basin Turtle (Emydura macquarii dharuk),
- Worrell's Short-Necked Turtle (Emydura worrelli)

The Australian Short-neck Side-neck turtles most commonly
sold for pets are the Macquarie/Murray River Turtle (Emydura
macquarii macquarii), the Red-bellied Short-necked Turtle
(Emydura subglobosa, and the Pink-bellied Side-necks
(Emydura subglobosa subglobosa). If you are an experienced
turtle owner and do your research, any of these species will
make fairly easy to care for and interesting pets.

Australian Short-neck Side-neck Turtles need a fairly large
habitat because they are active turtles and swim well. An
outdoor pond is the best way to keep these turtles, but if
your circumstances don't allow that and you must keep your
turtle indoors, use at bare minimum a forty gallon breeder
tank. Create a secure land area in the tank for basking,
with a ramp for easy access, and if you have a breeding pair
of turtles be sure to make it large enough to hold a fairly
deep substrate of sand or vermiculite for egg-laying.

Provide a full-spectrum UVB lamp for vitamin D absorption,
and leave it on thirteen hours per day. Make sure the lamp
you buy lives up to its claims and is actually full-
spectrum, and replace it every six months. Keep the water
extremely clean with a good turtle tank filter (Fish
aquarium filters from the pet store won't do the job.) and
change the water completely very often, as this is essential
to keeping turtles of this species healthy. Use an aquarium
heater and thermostat to keep the water temperature between
seventy-five and eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit (twenty-four
to twenty-nine degrees Celsius).

You should also keep on hand a smaller tank to use for a
hospital/quarantine tank, and you might want to use it for
feeding also, as using a separate tank for feeding helps
greatly in keeping the home tank clean. The Emydura family
of turtles are very aquatic, seldom leaving the water except
to bask or nest, but they do like to bask, sometimes for
hours, so give them natural sunlight if possible, and a good
spotlight if not, over their basking area.

Most species in the Emyduras family are primarily
carnivores. They have jaws that can crush snails and
crawfish, and eat snails, crustaceans, insects and aquatic
insect larvae, earthworms, feeder fish, and many will also
eat aquatic plants such as water hyacinth and duckweed,
leafy vegetable greens and fruits. Aquatic turtle sticks,
low-fat dog or cat food and trout chow also make a good
occasional addition to their diet for variety and
crunchability, and a cuttlebone in the tank will provide
both calcium and crunch.

The Emydura family reproduces quite well in captivity. The
breeding/nesting season lasts from mid-winter to summer in
North America, with the female climbing onto land during the
night and digging a quickly done nest in a secluded spot,
laying seven to fifteen eggs one inch long eggs, and
hurriedly and carelessly covering them. Incubation time
should be at eighty-one to eighty-three degrees F. (twenty-
seven to twenty-nine C.), and takes from forty-two to fifty

The Australian Short-neck Turtles are an attractive and
interesting family of turtles, and if you are an experienced
turtle keeper and careful to give them what they need, you
will have your charming and hardy pets for many years.

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