How Big Does an African Sideneck Turtle Get



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How Big Does an African Sideneck Turtle Get

The African Sideneck Turtle, scientifically known as the Pelusios castaneus, is a popular choice for pet owners due to its unique appearance and relatively small size compared to other turtle species. These turtles are native to various African countries, including Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia, and are well-suited to life both in water and on land.

How Big Does an African Sideneck Turtle Get


Size and Growth

When it comes to the size of African Sideneck Turtles, there are some variations depending on factors such as gender, diet, and overall health. Generally, the dimensions range between 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) in length for males, while females can grow slightly larger, reaching up to 14 inches (35 cm).

During the first year of their lives, African Sideneck Turtles typically grow at a steady pace, gaining around 2 inches (5 cm) in length. However, their growth rate slows down as they age, with minimal increments in size after reaching maturity.

How Big Does an African Sideneck Turtle Get


Factors Affecting Growth

Several factors can influence the growth and size of an African Sideneck Turtle:

  1. Gender: As mentioned earlier, females tend to grow larger than males. However, it’s essential to note that determining the gender of a turtle can be challenging until they reach sexual maturity at around 3 to 5 years of age.
  2. Diet: The diet of an African Sideneck Turtle plays a significant role in its growth. Providing a well-balanced diet consisting of aquatic plants, insects, fish, and commercial turtle pellets will ensure healthy development.
  3. Enclosure Size: The size of the turtle’s enclosure can also affect its growth. Providing ample space for exploration and exercise is crucial for the overall well-being of the turtle.
  4. Environmental Factors: Temperature and lighting conditions can impact the growth of African Sideneck Turtles. These turtles require a warm basking area, along with a UVB light source, to facilitate proper growth and shell development.
  5. Genetics: Individual genetic factors can also contribute to the growth potential of the turtle. Just like humans, some turtles may naturally have a smaller or larger size compared to others of the same species.

Caring for an African Sideneck Turtle

Proper care and maintenance are crucial for ensuring the healthy growth of an African Sideneck Turtle. Here are some essential tips:

  • Enclosure: Set up a spacious habitat for your turtle that includes both an aquatic area and a dry basking spot. The enclosure should be large enough to allow your turtle to move around comfortably.
  • Temperature and Lighting: Maintain a warm basking area with a temperature between 80-85°F (27-29°C). A UVB light source is necessary to provide the turtle with essential vitamin D3 for absorbing calcium.
  • Diet: Offer a balanced diet consisting of commercial turtle pellets, fresh leafy greens, insects, and occasional small fish. Feed your turtle in a separate container to prevent the water from getting polluted.
  • Water Quality: Keep the water clean and regularly change it to maintain good water quality. African Sideneck Turtles are vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections if their habitat is not properly maintained.
  • Health Check-ups: Schedule regular visits to a reptile veterinarian for health check-ups and to address any concerns about your turtle’s growth or overall well-being.


African Sideneck Turtles are fascinating creatures with unique physical characteristics. While their size is relatively small compared to some other turtle species, their growth can be influenced by various factors such as gender, diet, enclosure size, environmental conditions, and genetics. By providing proper care, a suitable habitat, and a balanced diet, you can ensure that your African Sideneck Turtle thrives and grows to its full potential.

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