Pig Nose Turtle

Carettochelys Insculpta

Pig Nose Turtle

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Description

Aquatic fresh water turtles.

- One of the most peculiar turtles in the world

- Complicated to breed domestically

- Used as food and hence they are disappearing

Pig Nose Turtles also known as Fly River Turtles have bulbous flesh snout and their nostrils are prominently divided which give the appearance of a pig. They are grey to brown on the top and white underneath. They can grow up to a length of 22 inches with a weight of 20kgs. In wild they are found in Northern Australia and Southern New Guinea.

Pig Nose Turtles don’t bask and hence UVB lighting is not necessary for them. But to maintain a day-night cycle, broad spectrum lighting in visible range is used. They don’t prefer glass bottomed tanks. They are fond of digging. Non- abrasive gravel or sand can be chosen as the substrate. The pH of water should be between 7.2 and 7.5. One tablespoon of aquarium salt must be added to 5 gallons of water to increase its pH. If water quality is not maintained, bacteria and fungi attack the turtle which may result even in the death of them. If the plastron of an adult changes from light to reddish color it indicates poor water quality. Hence the water must be filtered and frequently changed. A UV sterilizer is used to keep the microbes counts down.

For an adult, a tank more than 200 gallon is preferred. They need water of few feet depth with aquatic plants. Underwater hiding spots must also be arranged. Some land area must be offered for adult females for nesting. Resting spots like driftwood or synthetic logs are placed near the surface for the juveniles. They move fast and dive in water. The temperature of the water should be maintained between 79° – 86°F.

Pig Nose Turtles are territorial and acts violently with other turtles. Hence only one turtle should be placed in a single tank. Other species of turtles should not be mixed with them. If you place many turtles in a single enclosure, there must be as many hiding spots as the number of turtles. They sleep in the afternoon and are energetic at night and early morning.

Pig Nose Turtles are omnivorous. They prefer plant matter and animal matter in the ratio 2:1. They eat figs, apples, grapes, kiwi fruit, bananas, water lettuce and other leafy greens. They can also consume mealworms, pinky mice, whitebait and aquatic insects. Since UVB lighting is not provided to them, their diet must be rich in vitamin D3 content. The uneaten food from the water must be removed with the help of a net to keep the water clean. If high protein food is overfed, it is harmful to its liver and kidneys.

Very little captive breeding has been arrived with this species. Females lay their eggs in the dry season. The eggs are incubated for a period of 60 – 70 days. Captive hatchlings grow very slow.

Due to their high cost and larger size, they are appropriate only for skilled aquatic turtle keepers. They are popular because of their rare appearance. If you watch a pig- nose turtle gliding back and forth, you will agree that they are a thing of beauty.

 

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