Pet Care Guides Reptile

African Side Neck Turtle





Average Size



50+ years


The African side-neck turtle may be fed live fish, snails, crayfish, crickets, earthworms, aquatic plants, and dark leafy greens. Specialized pellet foods for omnivorous turtles are also a good feeding choice.


A large aquarium with a sand or gravel substrate is adequate for an adult of this species. 3/4 of the enclosure should be water, and 1/4 should be land for the turtle to bask and dry its shell when it wishes. A submersible filter is necessary to keep the water clean, and the water needs to be changed at least once every two weeks.


The water used in the aquarium must be clean and dechlorinated. It should be 5" to 8" deep. You should maintain a pH level of 6.5 in the water both to simulate the turtle's natural habitat and to prevent it from developing skin problems. Adding peat moss to the tank or using pH buffers will help you maintain this desired pH level.

Heating & Lighting

Turtles need heat in order to digest their food and maintain their immune systems. The African side-neck turtle needs an enclosure temperature between 78° and 82°F. The basking area should be 90°F. The side-neck turtle needs a 5.0 UVB bulb, as the UVB rays help the turtle use the vitamins and minerals in its food.

Helpful Hints

African side-neck turtles can be very aggressive. They should not be housed with any other species. These turtles will kill any fish or frogs in their enclosure. By very careful with your fingers; African side-neck turtles may bite.