Twist-Necked Turtles
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Twist-Necked Turtle Factoids

Origin

Northern half of South America

Maximum Size

Six inches

Longevity

Maybe five to ten years

Housing

Does not like fast flowing water

Security

Lives in a mobile home

Temperature

Room temp fine.  Warmer okay also.
Breeding Breeds year round -- six fragile eggs only
Sexing Longer tail on male plus concave plastron

Attitude

Peaceful.  Friendly.  Hungry.  Mostly aquatic.  Clumsy on land.

Foods

Omnivore.  Prefers slow moving foods.

Water

Not picky.  Good filtration necessary because they eat a lot.

Prologue:  We stumble across new critters every month.  We can't resist learning about species we've never seen before.  So, when we saw twist-necked turtles on our availability list, we signed up for one.  With few exceptions, turtles are usually easy to care for.  Ditto on the twist-necked turtles.

LA
Typical turtle trait -- pokes head up for air and to check his surroundings.

Water Dwellers:  Turtles populate most U.S. waters.  Ditto below the border.  Twist-necked turtles originate from most of the countries in the northern parts of South America.  They prefer to loaf in shallow waters.  They look clumsy in water even though water supports most of their body weight and clumsier on land.  A deep breath makes it hard for them to dive, so you can see them expelling air in their quest to dive deeper.

LA
Long and graceful neck on twist-necked turtles.

Little Flatties:  Their Latinized name refers to their flat heads and flat shells.  Not as flat as a U.S. soft shell (aka pancake or leatherback turtle), twist-necked turtles look decidedly flat.  That's part of their appeal.

LA
Must have been hand fed earlier.  Instantly went for the dead goldfish.

The Bulk of Their Appeal:  However, twist-necked turtles appeal to people because they act friendly (at least friendlier than most water turtles).  They will eat from your fingers from day one.  My theory is:  They like to have room service.  They're not much at catching food on their own.

LA
We added a flowerpot to give our twist-neck turtle a place to lean on.

Not Exactly Hyperkinetic:  No ADHD medication needed.  These guys are keyed into the yogi approach -- take it easy until lunch time.

Brumation?  Many turtles in the cooler countries go thru a brumation period before they breed.  Not twist-necks.  They take an occasional month or two siesta but don't have to brumate to breed.  Just keep feeding them, keep yours warm, and they'll usually stay active (or moderately active) all year.

LA
He loved it and spent much of his idle time atop the pot.

Foods in Nature:  Twist-necked turtles settle for slow moving or non-moving foods in the wild -- snails, mollusks, worms, and fruits.  In captivity they try to eat feeder goldfish but are a tad slow off the mark.  They can't even come close to catching live fish.  They will eat dead fish if they stumble across them.

LA
When not chasing food, he loafs atop the pot.

LA
Most turtles retreat into their shells when manhandled (or womanhandled).  Not twit-necked turtles.

LA
Twist-neck turtles seem fearless (or maybe stupid).  They trust humans -- male.

LA
Ditto -- female.

LA
You really have to pester them to find out why they're called twist-necked turtles -- male

LA
Ditto -- female.

Not Always "out there."  If you pokem a few times, you can see why they call them twist-necked turtles.  They bend their necks to the side and refuse to face realty -- much like the long-necked ostrich reputedly buries its head in the sand.

LA
Twist-neck turtle plastrons sport a double keel -- not seen in other turtles.

Double-keeled Carapace:  Most turtles have a single ridged keel atop their carapace.  Twist-necked turtles sport two.

LA
Maybe you can see his double keel better here -- male.

LA
Ditto --female.

LA
Twist-necked turtles also sport a semi-serrated plastron at their rear end.

LA
Male twist-necked turtles have longer tails than females.

LA
Female tail.

Sexing:  You can sex most turtles by looking at their tails and toenails.  Males sport longer ones.  They also have a concave carapace.  Their longer toenails and concave bellies enable them to grasp the females at breeding time.

LA
His first attempt at diving for food.

LA
Twist-necked turtles have difficulty diving in deep water.  They have to learn to expel some of their air.

Clumsy Hunters:  Watching a twist-necked turtle underwater makes you wonder how they thrive in the wild.  They sure eat better in captivity.

LA
In a tank of feeder goldfish, he can't figure out which one to chase.  They're all faster than him.

LA
He never caught a one.

LA
He clambered about and searched assiduously without even getting close to a goldfish.

LA
Twist-necked turtles float like a cork.

Excellent Loafers:  Both sexes spend a great deal of time loafing at the surface.  You saw them earlier sitting atop the flower pot.  They expend minimal energy in captivity.  Maybe they work harder when hungry.  But if you deliver their food to them, they pretty much take it easy.

LA
Male twist-necked turtle perusing his surroubings.

Last Words:  Take a close look at the twist-necked turtles.  They're not cheap, but they are easy to care for and super friendly.  LA


© 2011  LA Productions
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