Species group: Tortoises
Other common names: Serrated Hinge-back Tortoise; Schweigger’s Hinged Tortoise; Forest Hinged Tortoise
Scientific name: Kinixys erosa
The Forest Hinge-back Tortoise comes from the tropical forests of Western Africa.
Appearance / health:
Members of the Kinixys genus all have a hinged rear carapace. Their tail and rear legs can be safely closed off into the shell. The Forest Hinge-back Tortoise can be difficult to distinguish from other hinge-backs. To positivity identify a Forest Hindge-back Tortoise take a close look at the fifth vertebral scute (the vertebral scutes run down the middle of the shell.) This should be nicely rounded and not appear to be almost vertical. Their shell overall is also well rounded and a reddish-brown base color with dark markings in each scute.
AVERAGE ADULT WEIGHT: N/A
AVERAGE ADULT SIZE: Males: up to 12+ inches, Females up to 10+ inches
Behavior / temperament:
These tortoises are considered to be shy and somewhat fragile. The males are often very aggressive and should not be housed together.
The special care needs of the Forest Hinge-back Tortoise make housing this species rather complicated. This tortoise species is not for the pet owner seeking an easy to care for pet. Due to their temperature and humidity requirements they will most likely need to have an extensive indoor habitat; however they should also be provided with outdoor yard space for outside time when the weather conditions are just right. They need a large amount of space, at least 8 square feet of ground space for one tortoise. A tank is not recommended, a specially designed tortoise box or tub works best. Outdoor habitats should be well planted with shady bushes and may need misters in the drier climates. Some great plant choices that they can also eat are petunias, hibiscus, aloe vera and a variety of grasses. Mulch, moss, or bark can be used as a substrate, both indoors and out, to help maintain a higher humidity level. Mulch not only increases the humidity it also provides natural bugs and snails for them to forage on. A plastic sheet can cover part of the outdoor habitat to increase the humidity. They require a pool that they can submerge half way into; they will enjoy a soaking. onditions are just right. They need a large amount of space, at least 8 square feet of ground space for one tortoise. A tank is not recommended, a specially designed tortoise box or tub works best. Outdoor habitats should be well planted with shady bushes and may need misters in the drier climates. Some great plant choices that they can also eat are petunias, hibiscus, aloe vera and a variety of grasses. Mulch, moss, or bark can be used as a substrate, both indoors and out, to help maintain a higher humidity level. Mulch not only increases the humidity it also provides natural bugs and snails for them to forage on. A plastic sheet can cover part of the outdoor habitat to increase the humidity. They require a pool that they can submerge half way into; they will enjoy a soaking.
TEMPERATURE/HUMIDITY: They need high humidity and daytime temperatures of 77-82° F.
HIBERNATION / ESTIVATION: The Forest Hinge-back Tortoise does not hibernate. They need their environmental conditions maintained year round, however they do slow down during winter and may need less food during this time.
HEALTH CONCERNS: These tortoises due tend to have medical problems making regular veterinarian care all the more important. Wild caught tortoises do not fare well, they are generally unhealthy; loaded with parasites and dehydrated. Most of them die quickly in captivity. Do make sure you know the source of your pet tortoise and that it is a well bred captive tortoise. These tortoises can also suffer from eye problems due to improper humidity levels.
The Forest Hinge-back Tortoise is unique in its naturally varied diet. They are natural omnivores eating large amounts of fallen, well ripened fruit, flowers, plants leaves, and dead animals. They will also feast on mushrooms, slugs, and bugs (a bonus for your garden!) Likewise, as a pet, they should be fed a diet that is highly varied. Their diet should consist of fruits such as mangoes, papaya, grapes, and berries, as well as grasses, timothy hay, flowers (roses, hibiscus) dark leafy greens, and the occasional egg. They should get calcium carbonate supplements once a week.
As the largest and most aggressive of the hinge-backs males should not be housed with other males. And like other tortoises the male will ram, circle, and bite the female as part of the courtship phase.
extremely foul smelling
bright basking light, fullspectrum lighting, wet tropical forests, commercial tortoise chow
Forest Hingeback Tortoise
Forest hingeback tortoises are from dry and wet tropical forests of western Africa. They require high humidity but not dampness to thrive, air warmth but not bottom heat or bright basking light, but full-spectrum lighting. Keeping them well can prove a difficult balance in a small space, without completely changing the climate o a room or home.
Forest hingebacks are usually imported loaded with intestinal parasites, and a professional worming by a veterinarian familiar with tortoises is a must. Due to their parasite load, they're not necessarily suitable for handling, especially when newly imported and especially by children. Always quarantine them from other pets.
A large terrarium with a thick substrate of leaf litter (such as fall leaves) is ideal. A large water pan in which they can soak is a must. The terrarium should have air warmth -- 85-90 F air temperature. A heat rock or heat pad won't cut it -- the air needs to be warm. The air also needs to be humid, and that poses a challenge. Frequent fine-misting is helpful, or perhaps a large air-stone in the water pan attached to an air pump is a good idea. They dislike bright light, but full-spectrum lighting is also a must.
Forest hingeback tortoises will thrive on a typical tortoise diet, rich in well-washed fruit and leafy greens, grasses, and even commercial food. My own never touched commercial tortoise chow but I have known of others that did enjoy it. Supplement also with earthworms, mealworms, waxworms, and other soft-bodied insects.
Hingeback tortoises are named for the joint in the carapace (shell) toward the rear, which they can pull down over their hing legs when threatened.
Even with professional worming, most of the forest hingeback tortoises I knew languished in captivity and only did well when held by very serious professional turtle hobbyists. This isn't an animal to take home on an impulse buy without the willingness to commit to the very necessary preventative veterinary care they require..
From bnaqqimanco Jun 18 2013 7:01PM