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Common Name: African Helmeted Turtle

Scientific Name: Pelomedusa Subrufa


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Sauropsida

Order: Testudines

Family: Pelomedusidae

Genus: Pelomedusa

Species: P. Subrufa


An African Helmeted Turtle can range in size up to 22cm.  One was said to be up to 32.5 cm. This animal’s population is shrinking, because people and animals are eating them or using its blood for medicine. When a female lays eggs it’s usually 13-16 on average, but it could go to many as 40 during late spring or summer.  The eggs are covered with slime, and don’t hatch until 75-90 days.


These animals live in ponds in Madagascar, southern Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and central to southern Africa. They evade being eaten by animals by hiding in ponds or deep jungles.  Its role in the food web is to eat insects, crustaceans, earthworms, fish, and snails.  The way you can tell the girls and boys apart is that the male’s tail is longer and the vent farther away from the body. The girls are opposite from the boys, the tail is shorter and the vent closer.


These animals are very aggressive and when it eats it tears and shreds the dead remains of another animal. The animal’s sharp front claws help it to tear and shred the animal. They compete with other carnivores for food, but it will also scavenge. This animal also eats plants, but only if there’s no meat. The animal’s coloration can be olive-green or brown. These animals were observed one day and caught drowning dove’s when they land to drink.


What stood out to me when I was doing this animal is the size, where it lives, and what it eats. I learned from this experience is that a turtle can be an omnivour and what things eat this turtle. The African helmeted turtle is a fascinating turtle and I learned a lot about this turtle from this experience. I am glad I got this animal.


Author: Josh L

Published: 2/5/09



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