Yellow-Spotted River Turtle

The Yellow-Spotted River Turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) is a freshwater reptile in the Podocnemididae family of river turtles. It is also known as the Yellow-Headed Sideneck Turtle.

The Yellow-Spotted River Turtle has a black or brown oval-shaped carapace (upper shell). It has yellow spots on the side of its head. The spots fade with age. It has a side neck – it bends its head to fit under its shell instead of sticking its head in and out of its shell.

Yellow-Spotted River Turtle

It grows up to 45 centimetres (17.5 inches) long. The female can be twice the size of the male. 

It is native to South America. It lives in calm freshwater streams and rivers.

The Yellow-Spotted River Turtle feeds on fruit, plants, fish, and small invertebrates.

The female lays 4-35 eggs in a sandy nest on the banks of the river. The eggs hatch after 66-159 days. The sex of the hatchlings is temperature-dependent. Eggs below 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) will hatch into male turtles, and eggs above 32 degrees Celsius will hatch into female turtles. 

The young turtles will forage for food a few days after hatching. The young eat grass, vegetable matter, leaves, fruit, carrion (dead animals), and snails.

Its lifespan is about 20 years.

Yellow-Spotted River Turtle
Yellow-Spotted River Turtle

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

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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