honduran wood turtle, central american, painted, ornate, rhinoclemmys pulcherrima, incisa, manni

My adult Rhinoclemmys enclosure

This enclosure houses two adult male Honduran Wood Turtles (Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa), constructed from plywood, timber and pondliner. The enclosure is heavily planted with a number of plants native to their natural range, and includes a bathing area and bioactive substrate.

  • Custom Central American forest floor habitat
  • Huge size! (300cm x 60cm x 90cm)
  • Live plants native to the native range of the turtles
  • Two thirds land, one third water for swimming
  • Bioactive substrate with various "free range" feeder insects
  • Overview
    This enclosure is the largest in my collection, and is home to two curious and inquisitive male wood turtles. I've modelled it as a semi-tropical forest habitat from Central America, and I'm continually adding new plants native to the natural range of this species.

    Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa enclosure custom vivarium habitat live plants bioactive substrate honduran cloud forest turtle Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa enclosure custom vivarium habitat live plants bioactive substrate honduran cloud forest turtle

    Substrate and plants
    The land area of the enclosure features a substrate of topsoil, orchid bark, cocopeat and compost, with a large amount of leaf litter added. I am looking to add builder's sand to this mixutre soon to increase drainage. The substrate is "bioactive", meaning that it is also home to a range of small invertebrate life which helps break down waste and turn over the soil. Tropical Woodlice, Springtails and Buffalo Worms are just a few examples of this natural clean-up crew.

    The plants in the enclosure are native to Central America, where these chelonians originate, including Swisscheese Plants (Monstera deliciosa), Eucharis orchids, Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).

    Water
    Water is provided for the turtles in a large pondliner-covered storage tub, and because these turtles tend to foul the water source fairly quickly, fresh drinking water is also available in a ceramic dish close to the basking area.

    Humidity is kept up in the enclosure by regular watering of the plants and the soil, which is carried out every day at feeding time.

    Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa enclosure custom vivarium habitat live plants bioactive substrate honduran cloud forest turtle forest floor Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa enclosure custom vivarium habitat live plants bioactive substrate honduran cloud forest turtle forest floor

    Lighting and heating
    The basking area is illuminated by a 60W household spotlight, positioned above a large section of bark. The turtles can bask on top of the bark, or hide underneath it in a safe warm spot.

    This species of turtle spends its time between basking, swimming and foraging around darker areas and under leaf litter. To accomodate this, the lighting in the enclosure is focused on a single basking area, and a UVB fluorescent strip and compact fluorescent full-spectrum bulb are cieling mounted, and light diffuses through the various levels of flora to the tank floor, creating many shadowy areas for the turtles to hide and forage in security.

    Aside from the lighting, no other equipment is employed. The water area is too readily fouled by both turtle waste, and soil carried on the turtles, for a filter to achieve anything but clogging, and so this is simply replenished frequently. Large mesh vents at the back of the tank provide ventilation without any fan equipment.

    Diet
    This species of turtle seems to be enjoying a diet of high quality pellets (Reptomin), leafy plants such as Romaine lettuce and dandelion, and some fruits such as strawberry.

    They are very capable foragers, and can hunt out buffalo worms, and tropical woodlice from the soil. In addition to these invertebrates, they are also offered live mealworms and ramshorn snails for enrichment.



    If you have any questions about this enclosure, dont hesitate to email me,
    Paul Edmondson



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