Black Ray Softshell

 

 

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Amyda cartilaginea

ADULT SIZE

Up to 28"

DIET

In the wild, they are strict carnivores, eating snails, insects, fish and amphbians, with snails being their preferred item.

TEMPERATURE RANGE (F)

Air Temperature:  Low to Mid 80's

Basking Temperature:  Mid to High 80's

Water Temperature:  Mid 70's

WATER pH LEVEL

6.0 - 6.2

HABITAT

Muddy-bottomed streams, rivers, ponds and swamps.

DISTRIBUTION

Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam) westward through Laos, Kampuchea and Thailand to southern Burma and south to Malaysia and Java, Sumatra and Borneo.

BEGINNER TURTLE

No

CAPTIVE HABITAT

This turtle does bask, so a basking spot will need to be provided. They prefer deep, soft-bottomed habitats, with a lot of vegetation. A shelf that is submerged just below the surface of the water that allows them to rest underwater yet reach their neck up and breath is also recommended. Either artificial plants or aquatic plants that can withstand the low pH requirements are suggested, although both types my be dislodged by the softshell when it buries in the substrate. The substrate, if used, should be sand or a fine gravel. UVB lighting is required, as well as a heat lamp over the basking area. A submersible heater is also recommended. Sharp decorations and rough terrain features should be avoided, as they can often bring injury to softshelled turtles. Water depth should be as deep as possible.

RECOMMENDED ENCLOSURE

It is not recommended that Amyda cartilaginea be maintained in conventional aquariums. They are too large as adults and require an extreme amount of space. Stock tanks would be the ideal choice, with a minimum requirement of 400 gallons (600 gallon or larger preferred). This will provide adequate swimming area, as well as assisting the filtration in maintaining good water quality. For additional Amyda cartilaginea, I would recommend adding 100 gallons of tank space per additional turtle at a minimum.

CAPTIVE DIET

In captivity, they do well on Mazuri and ReptoMin, Reptile/Pond 10, Cichlid Sticks, fish, snails, crickets and assorted worms and insects.

COMMUNITY HABITAT

It is not recommended that Black Ray Softshells be kept in community habitats with species outside of other Black Ray Softshells.

OTHER INFORMATION

Black Ray Softshell Turtles are aggressive when handled, while left alone, most are quite docile toward other inhabitants. Amyda cartilaginea are highly susceptible to shell injuries and infections, as are all softshells, but Black Ray Softshells are more prone to fungal outbreaks. Close attention to water quality is needed.

Contrary to popular belief, softshelled turtles are the strongest and most elegant swimmers of the freshwater turtles, and do enjoy the depper habitats.