Captive Care Sheet
Tropical Painted Wood Turtle Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima manni This is the most colourful of the 3 subspecies of Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima. The other 2 subspecies are R. p. pulcherrima, R. p. incisa.
R. p. manni ranges from Southern Nicaragua to Northern & West-Central Costa Rica. Adults are more terrestrial, living in humid forests near streams and ponds which they frequently enter, particularly during dry season. Adult size 18-21cm.
Large vivariums can be made from glass, fibreglass, plastic or aluminium, wood cages would need waterproofing with epoxy resin, or similar, due to high humidity needed. Ratio of 75% land-25% water would work well. Damp peat moss or coir(coconut based peat substitute) has been found good substrates. Cork bark hides can be used for turtles to rest under. Despite humidity good ventilation is also important. A vivarium 110cm x 90cm for a pair would suite. Height is not important.
Heating and Lighting:
Temperature 25c ambient to 35c basking should be suitable for these turtles. A small heat pad under 1/3 of the cage and a 100w UVB basking light would be best but check that the bulb is at least 12 inches away from animal, to avoid burns. A digital thermostat should be connected to the heatpad.
R.Gurley, in Keeping and Breeding Freshwater Turtles suggests a cooling period of 45 to 60 days at 16 to instigate courtship and mating.
Food and Water:
Omnivorous, preferring pear, apple, banana, plums, all types of berries, some vegetable matter, slugs, snails, crickets, normal and super giant mealworms, raw minced rabbit, rat pups. My animals will eat a wide range of foods. The youngsters have been reared on 50% Zoo-Med turtle pellets plus most of the items above for variety.
Rainfall, natural or artificial could be used to trigger reproductive activity. Conditioning animals with lower temperatures as under brumation, hibernation section may also be beneficial. My animals normally lay 2 eggs at a time but under my captive conditions all year round. Clutch sizes recorded as 4 eggs laid 2-3 times a year.(Gurley). Depending on the time of year my females lay eggs the incubation will alter considerably. Incubation can range from 3 to 9 months. Eggs laid in January and February often have long incubation times. The embryos must go through a diopause. The incubation temperature will be marginally lower at this time of year due to external factors. It is thought that in nature embryos will time hatching to when the wet season starts and food is more plentiful. Whatever time the young hatch in captivity, babies and adults are active, robust and excellent feeders.
Any other hints or tips:
This information gives the basic requirements for this species and should not be considered complete. Research should always be used to learn as much as possible on these beautiful turtles. This care sheet can be copied with permission and credit to Terry Thatcher.
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