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African Side-Necked Turtles: Pelomedusidae

Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Helmeted Turtle (pelomedusa Subrufa): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, AFRICAN SIDE-NECKED TURTLES AND PEOPLE

HELMETED TURTLE (Pelomedusa subrufa): SPECIES ACCOUNT

African side-necked turtles live in Africa, Madagascar, and the Seychelles Islands, which are northeast of Madagascar.

These turtles often are seen in freshwater lakes and rivers that hold water all year long, but they also are found in temporary freshwater ponds, which lose their water during the dry season. Some side-necked turtles, including those that are called "mud turtles," spend much of their time in soft-bottomed ponds that are filled with water for only a few weeks every year.

African side-neced turtles are unpopular as pets and as food, but people occasionally eat them. One reason for their lack of popularity is their smell. The musk glands are very powerful weapons against predators, including humans. Pet owners who keep African side-necked turtles often find that they are unfriendly and can be aggressive; they will bite at other turtles in the same aquarium and will nip at humans who put their hands too close.

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Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other Reptiles