Animals / Reptiles

The Caspian turtle

Синонимы и названия на других языках

Stripe-necked terrapin, Caspian terrapin

Kaspische Wasserschildkröte, Kaspische Bachschildkröte (German)


Order: testudiens

Family: emydidae

Genus: mauremys

Species: Mauremys caspica.

Subspecies: M. c. caspica;  M. c. siebenkocki;  M. c. ventrimaculata.


M. c. caspica is native to Russia (Dagestan), eastern Georgia, southern Armenia, Azerbaijan, the south-west of Turkmenistan, central and eastern Turkey, northern Syria, northern Iraq and Iran. Along the rivers of Tigris and Euphrates intergradations with the subspecies  M. c. siebenrocki occurs. From Turkey to Syria, along the Euphrates, hybrids with the species Mauremys rivulata can be found.

M. c. Siebenrockiis endemic to Syria, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. M. c. Ventrimaculata can be found in Iran. On the cross borders between the habitats hybrids are often found.

The Caspian turtle lives in lakes, ponds, rivers and canals, mainly among the woodlands and prairies. This species prefers water bodies with slow flow, with flat oozy banks and a lot of vegetation nearby. It can stay submerged during long periods of time, e.g. the whole night. This turtle can stay and move in salty water. 

Внешний вид

The Caspian turtle grows to 30 cm.

Its carapace is oval-shaped and smooth and has olive-brown colouring with netlike pattern of light stripes. The plastron is yellow with black spots. The turtle also has clear light yellow stripes along its head, neck and legs. The Caspian turtle has webbed feet.

Females have shorter and thinner tail, and males have concave carapace. 


The Caspian turtle is a diurnal species; it spends the night at the bottom of the water body, buried in ooze.

It is a peaceful reptile that can be kept alone or in couples. If you have a large tank, you can keep them in harems: one male and several females. Males can fight with each other. 

Содержание и уход

The Caspian turtle needs a large tank. For 1-2 turtles you will need the tank with the volume of at least 100 liters, but the bigger the better. Above the ground you will have to install a basking lamp. It is better to use sphagnum for substrate, since soil or sand easily get into the water and make a mess. You can put into the water big gravel which is easy to wash. You shouldn’t put any plants in the tank because the turtles eat and destroy them.

You will have to change one third of the total amount of the water every week. You can pour tap water of the same temperature as the water in the tank. You will need a powerful external filter since the turtles soil a lot. The filter needs to be cleaned every month.

The ambient temperature should be between 30 and 32°C at daytime and a couple of degrees lower at night.

The Caspian turtle needs 10-12 hours of light daily with filament lamps.

The ideal water temperature is within the range of 18 – 22°C, so if the room is warm enough, you won’t need a heater. 


The Caspian turtle is omnivorous. In captivity it normally eats meat, mostly ox heart. Also the menu should include fish, mealworms, small mice, shrimps, snails, insects and frogs. The turtle will also need plant feed: grated carrots, berries, dandelions, lettuce, duckweed. Young turtles should eat finely cut meat, fish, bloodworms and mineral supplements. Once a month the turtles should get vitamins.

The turtles should be fed daily and uneaten food has to be taken away in order for it not to rot. 


The Caspian turtles are friendly and peaceful, can be hand-fed.  

They require a large tank with a lot of water.

They are easy to care for, but require regular maintenance because they soil a lot. 


The Caspian turtle rarely gets ill and in most cases it happens due to poor husbandry. Improper diet can lead to diarrhea (shapeless stool). In this case you should add to the water in the tank decoction of oak bark until the water gets light brown. It is very good for irritated bowels. 


The Caspian turtle is sexually mature at the age of 10-11 years old.

For successful breeding you will need to organize a brumation period for your turtles. They will have to spend 1-2 months under decreased temperature. After brumation the turtles should be abundantly fed and vitamin Е has to be added to food for 2-3 weeks. The temperature should be increased to 23-25 degrees.

Mating lasts for 5-10 days. 50-65 days after that a female digs a hole in the loose soil and buries eggs there. The eggs should be taken away and placed into an incubator. If the temperature in the incubator is 27-29 degrees, hatchlings come out after 90-100 days, and if the temperature is 29 to 32 degrees, they come out after 60-90 days. The hatchlings start eating right after the yolk sac is dissolved.

Average life span in captivity is up to 30 years.


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