How to Care for an Asiatic Softshell Turtle

The Asiatic Softshell Turtle (Amyda cartilaginea) is a fascinating aquatic turtle species that can be found in rivers, lakes, and wetlands throughout much of Asia. This species has an interesting physical appearance and behaviors, and it inhabits a wide range of habitats throughout its range. In this blog post, we will explore some of the mysteries behind this enigmatic turtle species.

The Asiatic softshell turtle is a fascinating species that shares some similarities with the Amazon toad headed turtle.

How to Care for an Asiatic Softshell Turtle?

Caring for an Asiatic Softshell Turtle can be a rewarding experience if done properly. First, it is important to provide the turtle with a large tank with plenty of room to swim and explore. A filter should also be installed to keep the water clean and clear. The tank should also have a basking area, as well as a hiding area to provide a safe refuge for the turtle. The tank should be equipped with ultraviolet light, as well as sufficient lighting throughout the day and night. It is also important to provide vegetation in the tank, such as fake or real plants, and small rocks or driftwood for decoration.

When feeding your turtle, it is important to provide a variety of foods such as live insects, fish, shrimp, and other commercial turtle food. Fresh vegetables can also be offered occasionally. If you plan on keeping multiple turtles in the same tank, it is important to ensure that they are all being fed equally and that they are not bullying each other.

Asiatic Softshell Turtles need periodic water changes, as well as regular tank maintenance. It is also important to keep an eye out for signs of illness, such as swollen eyes or shells, in order to catch any health issues early and treat them quickly. Finally, it is a good idea to have your turtle checked by a veterinarian periodically to ensure that they are healthy and happy.
While the asiatic softshell turtle is native to Asia, it is important to note the differences between it and other species, such as the African spurred tortoise.

Shell of the Asiatic Softshell Turtle

The shell of the Asiatic Softshell Turtle is one of its most obvious characteristics. On average, adult specimens measure anywhere from 8-14 inches in length (20-35 cm).

The shell itself is quite smooth and can come in shades of black, brown, olive, and yellow. Interestingly enough, however, juvenile specimens tend to have more colorful shells with red or orange spots scattered throughout.

What’s more, males and females exhibit slight differences in shell shape; specifically, males are known to have a higher carapace (top) and narrower plastron (bottom) than their female counterparts.
While the Asiatic softshell turtle may share some similarities with the common snapping turtle, it has distinct physical characteristics and behaviors that set it apart.

Weight and Growth Rate of the Asiatic Softshell Turtle

As far as weight goes, adult specimens range from 2-10 pounds (1-4 kg). However, there have been reports of some individuals weighing as much as 15 pounds (6 kg). When it comes to growth rate, this species tends to reach maturity within 5-7 years given ideal living conditions; however, size can vary depending on how well they’re taken care of by their owner(s). The overall size range for this species usually falls between 8-13 inches (20-35 cm).

Habitat and Range

The Asiatic Softshell Turtle can be found in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, and the Philippines. This species is highly adaptable when it comes to habitat; they are found in almost any kind of wetland environment including rivers and streams with slow-moving water or still ponds with muddy bottoms. They are also capable of surviving in brackish waters such as estuaries or mangroves.

Behavior and Temperament

The Asiatic Softshell Turtle is an active species of turtle. It loves to swim around and explore its environment, often showing signs of curiosity when it encounters new things. Despite being active, the Asiatic Softshell Turtle is also quite docile. It is not aggressive towards humans or other animals and is usually content with simply observing its surroundings. This makes it a great choice for people looking for a pet turtle that won’t be constantly trying to escape from their terrarium.

Reproduction and Population Status

Asiatic Softshell Turtles breed from April to August each year with egg-laying sites typically located in shallow wetlands with sandy/muddy bottoms. Clutch sizes vary depending on female size but generally range from 6-15 eggs per clutch which have an incubation period of approximately 60 days before hatching takes place.

Juvenile turtles reach sexual maturity at around 5 years old; however, due to illegal harvesting/capture for the pet trade as well as habitat destruction, their populations are declining in many parts of their range leading to conservation efforts being undertaken across Asia in order to protect this species from extinction.

What do Asiatic Softshell Turtles Eat?

In the wild, Asiatic Softshell turtles are omnivores that feed on plants, insects, mollusks, worms, frogs, and fish. In captivity, their diet is a little different. They will still enjoy occasional treats like live worms or crickets but should primarily be fed commercial turtle food pellets supplemented with fresh produce like kale or collard greens. They should also receive occasional treats like cooked shrimp or pieces of cooked chicken breast.

A Balanced Diet is Key

It’s important to remember that variety is key when planning a healthy diet for your softshell turtle. A mix of proteins and vegetables is essential for providing all the necessary vitamins and minerals that these reptiles need to stay healthy.

Additionally, if you plan on feeding your softshell turtle store-bought food pellets, make sure to choose high-quality brands made specifically for aquatic turtles since their dietary needs differ from those of other reptiles.

Finally, be sure to supplement your softshell’s diet with calcium powder to ensure they get enough of this important mineral in their diets.

Feeding Schedule & Amounts

When it comes to feeding your softshell turtle, consistency is key! You should feed them at roughly the same time every day so they know when it’s time for meals and snacks. Additionally, you should only give them as much food as they can consume in about 10 minutes; any more than that could lead to overeating and potentially serious health problems over time.

To help keep track of how much your turtle eats each day (and whether or not it needs more), try weighing its food before feeding it each day—this way you’ll always know exactly how much nutrition your pet is getting!

Common Health Problems of the Asiatic Softshell Turtle

Like all animals, the Asiatic softshell turtle is susceptible to certain health problems, many of which can be prevented if they are caught early enough. Here is an overview of some common health issues that you should watch out for when caring for your Asiatic softshell turtle.

Bacterial Infections

One common problem with Asiatic softshell turtles is bacterial infections, which can occur if their environment isn’t kept clean. Bacterial infections can lead to respiratory problems and other serious health issues, so it’s important to make sure that your turtle’s tank is regularly cleaned and maintained.

Signs of a bacterial infection in your turtle include mucus or foam around the mouth and nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, or abnormal behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms in your turtle, take them to a vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.


Another common problem with Asiatic softshell turtles is parasites, which can cause digestive problems such as vomiting or diarrhea in your pet. Parasites are usually transmitted through contact with contaminated water or food sources, so it’s important to practice good hygiene when handling your turtle or its food. Symptoms of parasite infestation include weight loss, lethargy, and lack of appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms in your turtle, take them to a vet for diagnosis and treatment immediately.

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

Metabolic bone disease (MBD) can also affect Asiatic softshell turtles if they don’t get enough calcium in their diet or don’t have access to UVB light exposure in their tank. Symptoms of MBD include weak bones, lethargy, and poor growth rate due to calcium deficiency in the body. To prevent MBD from occurring make sure that your turtle has access to UVB light exposure and has a balanced diet that includes plenty of calcium-rich foods like kale and spinach.

The Basics of Housing an Asiatic Softshell Turtle

Keeping an Asiatic softshell turtle in your terrarium is a rewarding and exciting experience. Not only are these turtles beautiful to look at, but they also bring a sense of satisfaction that comes with caring for a living creature. However, it’s important to be aware of the basics when it comes to housing an Asiatic softshell turtle.

Size Matters

When choosing a tank for your Asiatic softshell turtle, size matters. It’s important to get a tank that’s big enough for your turtle to move around and exercise in, as well as have plenty of space for its food and water bowls. For an adult Asiatic softshell turtle, you should get at least a 20-gallon tank. If you plan on having more than one adult turtle in the same tank, then you should go up in size accordingly — preferably getting a 40-gallon or larger tank.

Filter and Heating System

It’s also important to make sure your tank has a good filter system and heating system installed before introducing your new pet into its home. A good filter system will help keep the water clean and free from harmful bacteria that can cause illness in your turtle. A good heating system will help keep the water temperature consistent and comfortable for your pet — ideally between 78°F and 82°F (26°C – 28°C).


Finally, when it comes to the substrate (the material used on the bottom of the tank), there are several options available — from sand to gravel to pebbles or even artificial turf mats made specifically for reptiles like turtles. Whatever substrate you choose, make sure it’s easy for your pet to dig through so that it can hide when needed. You should also avoid using sharp objects like rocks or pieces of wood that could injure your pet if they accidentally collide with them while moving around the tank.


Whether you’re looking for a fun pet or simply want to add a touch of nature to your terrarium setup at home, the Asiatic Softshell Turtle makes an excellent choice! With its unique characteristics such as its smooth shell and varying colorations in juveniles—not to mention its moderate growth rate—this species is sure to please even the most discerning herpetology enthusiast! So if you’ve been considering adding a turtle to your family roster of pets, why not give this incredible creature a try? You won’t regret it!

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