Reeves Turtle

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Species group:

Other common names: Black Reeve's Turtle; Reeve’s Terrapin; Chinese Three-keeled Pond Turtle; Japanese Coin Turtle; Chinese Pond Turtle

Scientific name: Mauremys reevesii

The basics:
The Reeve’s Turtle is quite common throughout China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and other parts of Asia. They are found in shallow waters with muddy or sandy bottoms.

Appearance / health:
The carapace of the Reeve’s Turtle is distinctly ridged with three “keels” along the median or middle of the shell. The shell is dark brown to black with some yellow or red blending in. The plastron is yellow with black coloring. Their head is olive-grey with thin yellow stripes that run length wise on the neck and head.


AVERAGE ADULT SIZE: 4- 6 inches, some up to 9 inches. Those from Japan do tend to be larger.

Behavior / temperament:
These turtles may start out shy but with constant attention from their people they will become social and enjoy getting head or shell pets. They can be housed with other species.

These semi-aquatic turtles are actually poor swimmers. They need a water depth that is shallow enough for them to touch the bottom and stick their head out of water to breath at the same time. The bottom of their habitat should be covered in gravel or sand similar to their natural habitat. They will also need a dry land area with one part heated by a heat lamp. To help design a habitat that will suit their needs length is more important than width. They can be house indoors or in an outdoor pond depending on your climate. A minimum sized aquarium for 2 adult Reeve’s Turtles would be 40 gallons. Keeping their water clear at all times is vital to their health; they will require a filtration system and regular water changes. If housed indoors they will need a full spectrum light. They will greatly appreciate water plants and moss or other plants in their land area to retreat to.

LIFESPAN: 25 years

TEMPERATURE/HUMIDITY: Basking: 90° F, Water Temperature: 60-75° F.

HIBERNATION / ESTIVATION: Although some populations of Reeve’s Turtles do hibernate in the wild it is not recommended that owners hibernate their pet Reeve’s Turtles.

HEALTH CONCERNS: Reeve’s Turtles originating directly from the wild often suffer from dehydration, starvation, and a condition where their scutes peel off from their body. These conditions are a direct result of the capture and importation process that does little to provide proper care. Care of a wild caught will most likely require months of intensive care to help them survive and eventually be healthy turtles. Those born in captivity and have been given quality care are less likely to be stressed by the pet life and much healthier overall. They can also suffer from obesity as they do like to eat.

Young Reeve’s Turtles are mostly carnivorous. As adults they move to an omnivore diet, eating whatever they find in their freshwater habitat. This includes plants, fish, insects, and frogs. While the young can be fed a diet high in protein, adult pet Reeve’s need a highly varied diet. They can be fed commercial koi pellet food, feeder fish, mealworms, crickets, and a variety of veggies. A reptile vitamin should be sprinkled on their food twice a week.

When the male finds a female he is dedicated to he will continuously follow and harass her trying to rub noses. The female will lay 4-9 eggs which hatch in 2-3 months under the right conditions. Males may need to be separated from each other during this time.

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