Species group: American and Asian Box Turtles
Other common names: Northeast Asian Box Turtle; Ambo; Amby; Asian Box Turtle
Scientific name: Cuora amboinensis
The Malayan Box Turtle is strictly found in slow moving waters and marshes in the tropical rainforests of Southern China and into Indonesia. They are listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN, a result of over collection as a food and for the pet trade.
Appearance / health:
Malayan Box Turtles have a dark brown, olive, or black carapace without any markings. The shell may be round or oval depending on the subspecies. Younger individuals will have 3 obvious ridges along the carapace. The top of head is dark with bright yellow stripe that run above the eye from nose to neck. The chin and underside of the neck is yellow with dark stripes. Their rear marginal scutes are flared and the plastron is yellow with brown markings.
AVERAGE ADULT WEIGHT: N/A
AVERAGE ADULT SIZE: 6 – 8 inches
Behavior / temperament:
The Malayan Box Turtle is energetic and full of life. They are very adaptable and hardy if kept in an environment that meets their needs.
Unless your climate is hot and humid these turtles do best in an indoor aquarium. One adult should have at least a 30 gallon tank with half of the area dedicated to land space and half to water. One area of the water environment should be only 8-10 inches deep so they can stand on the bottom and reach their head above the water same time. They will need a highly efficient filter and weekly water changes. They will appreciate live plants that they can eat. Other requirements include full spectrum light for proper calcium absorption and moss on the land area to help maintain high humidity levels. There is no need for substrate in the water but you can use large rocks that can’t be swallowed. In the right climate, adults can also be housed outdoors in a garden pond. Housing outdoors can allow you to provide them with a nicer habitat, deeper water areas up to 20 inches for swimming and naturally planted land areas. Hot and humid is the key to setting up a Malayan Box Turtle’s habitat.
When researching the care of the Malayan Box Turtle you’ll find that there is a lot of contradictory information on how to best care for them, even experts will give different information. When in doubt, look to their natural habitat and behaviors for guidance on setting up a proper habitat where they can thrive.
LIFESPAN: 30 – 40 years
TEMPERATURE/HUMIDITY: Water Temperature: 75 - 84° F, Basking: 82 - 90° F, Ambient Air Temperature: above 70° F, Humidity: 75 – 90%
HIBERNATION / ESTIVATION: This turtle does not hibernate. Their habitat conditions must be maintained year round.
HEALTH CONCERNS: Unfortunately most pet Malayan Box Turtles available are wild caught and do suffer from the capture and transportation process. These wild turtles often suffer from dehydration, a high parasite load, and shell rot. They will need weeks to months of intensive care by their owner and reptile veterinarian to nurse back to health and help them thrive as a pet. Other common causes of health problems are poor water quality and overall improper habitat. They can suffer from respiratory illnesses and shell peeling if their environment is too dry. Symptoms that your turtle is not healthy are a lack of activity or burrowing, never or rarely entering the water, and not eating.
The Malayan Box Turtle is technically an omnivore, although adults eat more vegetation than meat. In the wild most of their adult diet are aquatic plants. They can be fed a commercial turtle pellet supplemented with duckweed, mealworms, crickets, live feeder fish, fruit, dandelions, or mushrooms. If their aquarium is well planted with edible plants they only need to be fed once or twice a week.
These turtles are mature at 4 -5 years of age. Mating occurs in the water and the eggs are laid on land, hatching 2 -3 months later.
temperament, great quiet pet, fantastic pet turtle, turtle flakes, Fastest Turtle
semiaquatic species, clumsy swimmers
a fantastic pet turtle
As anyone who visits my ratings at RightPet can tell, I am bonkers about turtles. I grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and the typical elementary-school field trip was to the Boston Aquarium, where my teachers never had to worry about me, because I spent the entire visit staring, enraptured, at the sea turtles. Every Saturday morning, I sat glued to the monster movies (sure, they were schlock exported by those fine folks who brought us Pearl Harbor, but they were fun schlock), and, whenever a Gamera, the Flying Turtle, movie was repeated, I was uncontrollable in my excitement. When I was 7 years old, we moved down here to Virginia, and don't think I didn't think I had entered Paradise when I saw my first Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)--could you only imagine, here was a place where all you had to do was reach out and you could touch and hold and play with a real, live turtle--the only thing more fantastic would be to fly on the carapace of Gamera himself! I'm now 41 years old, and my current bale numbers 21 turtles, and I can't even count anymore the number of turtles in total I've had over the past 30+ years.
Of all those many, many turtles, Sammy ranks right up with one of my all-time favorites. (Please click here to see a gallery of my bale, past and present.) He has the most remarkable yellow facial patterns, he's active, he has an incredible, interactive personality, he's a great deal of fun to watch, he has quirks that have been fun to come to know and appreciate over the years, he's just a great turtle. I have him in a 20L aquarium, with a Whisper 20i In-Tank Filter and a pump that runs a bubble maker in which Sammy loves to play. I have a pile of rocks on which Sammy enjoys basking directly under a 100-watt bulb, and I have a Repti-Sun 5.0 fluorescent that provides the UVB spectrum he requires for proper shell and bone growth as well as metabolism. He also has a school of common guppies (Poecilia reticulata) to keep him company (I've never witnessed him eating one, but he may, for all I know). He has thrived all these years on Mazuri Fresh Water Turtle Pellets, which he eats with gusto once a day.
I can't extol the virtues of this species enough. If you want a fun turtle with loads of personality who's easy to take care of, then the Asian Box Turtle is for you.
From Kerry May 18 2010 8:12PM
Don't recommend tortoise as pet
I used to own a tortoise when I was 12 years old. My mom came home one day suddenly with a tortoise. She would partially fill a container with water for the tortoise to swim. The tortoise had a good appetite and would gobble up celery and lettuce that my mom fed. As tortoise hardly moved, it was quite boring to watch. I wasn’t allowed to hold the tortoise. I was told that I would injure the tortoise by holding it and might cause it to die if I broke the shell. The tortoise grew up really fast and we couldn’t cope with the speed of the growth. We ended up putting the tortoise to the pond in the public park. I won’t recommend people to own tortoise if they want pets they can hold and watch. Tortoise has long live span, hence please think carefully before you own them..
From mikiyuki Oct 20 2015 9:22AM