Ocadia sinensis / Golden threat pondturtle - Care
|Scientific name:||Ocadia sinensis (Chinemys sinensis)|
|English name:||Golden threat pond turtle|
|Average age:||30+ years|
|Cites:||B / II|
Along with the Mauremys reevesii (Chinese three-keeled turtle), the Ocadia sinensis is one of the most common kept Asian turtles in the hobby. This species is bred in great numbers in so-called "Farms", especially in China and also Taiwan. The main objective is to meet the high demand of the Chinese market for turtle parts for traditional "medicines" and food, which has so plundered the natural population that it is now greatly reduced. Another part of the farmed turtles ends up in Europe to be sold for low prices in pet stores and at the famous reptilefairs. Especially now the sale of Trachemys scripta (ornamental turtle) is banned in Europe, we expect demand to rise even further. It can be very tempting, such a small beautiful coloured turtle at an attractive price and the species adapts well to various circumstances and is therefore certainly suitable for a starting hobbyist. Nevertheless, you want to meet a few requirements. Clean water, UVB, heat and an appropriate diet are essential to raise these animals in a healthy way.
External characteristics: This turtle grows to an average of 20/22 cm. Females are slightly larger than the males and can grow to be 25 cm. The most striking feature of this turtle is the pattern of yellow narrow lines that run from the nose, over the face into the neck. This pattern also remains visible in adult animals. But the striking pattern of extended (often red) spots on the shell is only visible in young animals. The shell of adults is often an inconspicuous dark brown or grey with possibly a greenish hue. The head is somewhat pointed in shape and the neck is moderately secreted. The legs are very powerful and there is a swimming membrane between the toes too improve movement in the water. The lined pattern that one sees on the neck and head can also be found on the body, tail and on the legs, but the degree and visibility can differ per individual, age and origin. Young animals have a slight edge along the marginals, this disappears as the turtle gets older. The plastron is light / yellow-cream in colour with a dark spot in the core of each shield. The spots on the marginals often have a lighter core.
As with many aquatic turtles, the males can be recognized by the placement of the cloaca, which is placed further outside the shell than that of the females. The wider base of the tail and the indentation of the plastron.
Hybrids: Ocadia sinensis is known for the many species with which these can produce hybrids, both in the wild and in captivity (accidentally and intentionally) there are many variations known. Also hybrids with Mauremys reevesii are known, how you can distinguish them in our article about the M. reevesii.
Origin and habitat: Unfortunately, this species is also the victim of the over-consumption of the wild population for the food market and animal trade. In addition, the natural habitat is shrinking rapidly due to buildings by humans. Ocadia sinensis is found in China, Taiwan and Vietnam. Here they inhabit mainly moderately flowing rivers, streams, canals and swamps. They are day-active and spend much of their time sunbathing on sandbanks and trunks. In the event of a disturbance, the turtles quickly jump into the water and they are very strong swimmers.
Husbandry: The Chinese golden neck turtle is a fairly active swimming turtle of average size and should therefore be given a spacious setup. A minimum of 100 liters of water is required for a single animal. This means that a pair or trio can be kept in an aqua-terrarium of 150x50x40. With a hanging land area of 50x40x20cm for sunbathing and if needed to lay eggs. The water part may be larger/deeper since these are good swimmers.
Young and newborn Ocadia are also good swimmers. We have good experience with raising youngsters in a 60x30x30 aquarium with 15-20 cm water depth. As long as there is enough climbing material so the turtles can easily reach the surface. A UVB/heat spot aimed at a floating plateau or cork trunk is sufficient for young animals. Filter via a small internal aquarium filter or with a sponge filter connected to an air pump. A moderate flow is desirable and promotes water quality.
The plant-based diet of this species is quite polluting, so it is wise to switch from internal filtration to external filtration for larger aquariums with adults. This is possible with the known canister filter. A combination of mechanical filtration and biological filtration is recommended. By first filtering through filter cotton you catch fine waste particles from the water. This cotton wool is replaced once a week on average. With this manner the remaining (biological) filter material remains clean which can process the chemical contamination. Despite proper filtration, replace 20% to 50% of the water once a week up to 14 days. You adjust this degree to the population pressure and diet of the turtles.
Some arrangement of the water part with, for example, yatihout or azalea is desirable, but keep sufficient space for the turtles can swim freely. By means of half terracotta pots or large PVC / plastic pipes you also offer hiding places at the bottom of the aquarium so that residents can avoid each other when necessary. The soil can be kept bare since these turtles hardly dig, but if you want to cover it, it is best to choose a fine-soft sand.
Whenever possible, people want to add living (floating) plants to the water part so that they offer more hiding places and shadow and also filter nitrates and other waste products from the water. But given that this turtle has a mainly herbivore diet and a large appetite, this is not feasible. So if you want to place some greenery in the water part, artificial plants are the best and most sustainable option.
These turtles naturally spend a lot of time on sandbanks and trunks to dry and sunbathe. You therefore want to offer sufficient space for this. Adult animals need a spacious sandarea with a minimum of 20 cm deep layer of river sand, coco peat and/or peat and possibly mixed with leaves and moss. Here eggs can possibly be laid by the females. Even if an adult female is not housed with a male, there is the possibility that they will lay unfertilized eggs. If these is no suitable place to lay these, they may become eggbound. Hence the need for this laying area. To provide extra sun places, pieces of crutch bark can also be floating in the water part. Offer a sun place where the temperatures average 32C. Depending on the size of the accommodation and the age of the animals, you want to offer extra UVB by means of a compact energy-saving lamp or UVB fluorescent lamp (which must be replaced every 4-6 months) or when possible HID spotlights which show UVA, B visible light and infrared. radiate at the same time and offer an optimal sun place. Whenever possible, you want to offer an extra sun place above, for example, a trunk in the water so that residents can avoid each other when desired. Lit 10-13 hours depending on the season.
The daytime temperature must be on average 25 / 26C with a comparable water temperature. But these turtles can tolerate lower temperatures as well as long as there is enough opportunity to warm up under a baskingspot. Nocturnal cooling to 20C is no problem. In winter the animals can be kept a little cooler as long as there is a good sun place during the day. But a real hibernation is not needed. Only in the extreme North of the region of origin does the species undergo a hibernation/rest.
Due to the easy hybridization of this species, we advise against combining it with other species of turtles from the same area and with the same requirements, despite the tolerant nature of the species.
Diet: The Ocadia sinensis is primarily a herbivore. This means that the vast majority of their diet are vegetables. Young animals are fed on average only 30/40 animal-matter (high protein, fats) and 70/60% vegetable (vitamins, minerals, fiber) and adult animals can be fed almost exclusively with a vegetable diet.
The basis can consist of: aquatic plants, endive, bok choy, romain, ornamental lettuce, chicory, purslane, zucchini, yellow pumpkin, dandelion leaf, Repashy Veggie burger, banana, apple. In addition, feed with the well-known manufactured turtle granules for supplementing calcium and protein. Other animal material such as red mosquito larvae, earthworm, shrimp and mussel are certainly accepted. Please note that you do not offer too much animal matter because these turtles will get to fat fast. Egg-laying females in particular benefit from feeding snails with house due to the high calcium value.
Feed young animals almost every day until every other day, adults on average three or four times a week.