All the information listed here is based on my own experience, please carry out your own research before attempting to replicate anything on this site.
One of my absolute favourite turtle species has to be the Rhinoclemmys Wood Turtles - for their amazing colours, fascinating behaviours and characterful personalities. Commonly known as Painted Wood turtles or Ornate Wood turtles, it's been 5 years since I got the bug for them and started with two male Hondurans (Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa), eventually sourcing two females to start a captive breeding project in March 2013, and what a project it has become!
Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima originate in Central America, from South Mexico to Costa Rica. The majority kept in captivity are imports from Nicaragua, and whilst not considered 'threatened', wild populations are at risk from habitat destruction and deforestation. It's been my ambition to captive breed this species, and support the demand for such animals with captive-bred offspring rather than wild specimens.
My 2 pairs of Rhinoclemmys live in a large biotope vivarium, packed with live plants from the Americas, deep bioactive substrate for digging and laying eggs, and a spacious water area. With such a setup, it wasn't long until I first discovered eggs! Sixteen weeks later, this little chap was just hatching out in the incubator:
That was back in April 2014, and how things have snowballed from there! My Honduran Wood Turtles (Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa) lay clutches of 2 eggs, roughly every 2-3 weeks. My first pair have been so successful, I now have 10 juveniles from them alone! The other pair I keep has only just started laying, and I now have 8 eggs from this new bloodline in the incubator waiting to hatch.
I plan to keep a couple of each bloodline myself, however I will be looking for other keepers who are interested in caring for these wonderful creatures. All are true F1 Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa (blue eyed subspecies), currently around 3" carapace length, and feeding on all sorts of prepared foods, including Reptomin and ZooMed turtle pellets.
If you are interested in these turtles, or have any questions just pop me an email at the address below.
Has it really been 2 years since my last update? Back in February 2014 I was just introducing Australian Freckled Monitors (Varanus tristis orientalis) to my exotic pet collection, and revealing that my Honduran Wood Turtles were starting to lay fertile eggs...it seems like only yesterday.
So I suppose I should explain just why it's taken me this long to get back into the swing of things; in all honesty it's been predominantly work related. Since April 2013 I've been building a career in the aquatics industry, which combined with my own collection, has left me little free time for website updates and photography. The animal room has expanded, gained several new additions, and sadly lost some familiar faces too. I've kept Insectivore live whilst I tackled these other commitments, and I'm happy to see many of the articles are still drawing lots of interest across the web.
And here we are, November 2015! What better way to start than with one of the most unusual creatures I've come to own - Chelus fimbriata, the Mata Mata turtle. Wish list fodder indeed, and a species I've wanted to keep for such a long time. With leaf-litter camoflage, a lightning fast bite and a face that's always smiling, this species is truly fascinating. Luckily, I was able to aquire this pair of captive bred juveniles back in April, and so far they seem to be thriving. Their habitat follows the basic design of my other hatchling tubs, including sand substrate, cork bark, basking light, and a DIY air filter, with a South American blackwater twist. Purified reverse osmosis (RO) water combined with catappa (indian almond leaves) and peat helps stain the water a rich tea colour, with a pH as low as 5. As piscivores (fish-eaters), their diet at present consist of defrost smelt, however I hope to introduce them to a more staple pellet diet in the future.
Hopefully this is now the start of things to come, I shall try next week to showcase what has happened with my Honduran Wood Turtle breeding project, although it might suffice to say it has been rather successful.
Any questions, please contact my email as always, and thankyou for your patience.