Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle

The Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle (Phrynops geoffroanus) is a freshwater aquatic reptile in the Chelidae family of long-necked turtles. It is a chelonian or a chelid. Chelonians include turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. It is also known as the Geoffroy’s Toadhead Turtle. 

The Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle is black to dark-grey. Its carapace (top shell) is slightly domed. Its tail and legs are grey-brown, and its plastron underbelly (bottom shell) is yellowish. Instead of its neck sticking in and out, it has a side-necked position where it places its head sideways in its shell. It has four sharp claws on its feet. 

The Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle does not have a hinged plastron, so it has to put its head sideways under its shell. But this means that it has a strong neck. When it is upside down, it can flick its muscular neck to right itself – to turn itself the right way up. Other terrapins and tortoises are unable to do this. 

Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle

It grows to 35 centimetres (14 inches) in length. 

It is native to countries in South America, such as Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. 

It is aquatic, living in freshwater ponds, rivers, and lakes. 

The Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle is carnivorous. It eats small animals. It uses it sharp claws to tear the flesh off animals.

The female lays 10-20 eggs, which hatch after about 75 days. The babies, called hatchlings, are black or brown and are about 3 centimetres (1 inch) in length.

It can live for about 37 years, on average.

Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle
Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle
Geoffroy’s Side-Necked Turtle

Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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