How to Care for a Black Softshell Turtle

Turtles have fascinated people for centuries, and the black softshell turtle is one of many species of turtles that has intrigued people with its unique characteristics. This species of turtle lives in freshwater bodies in India and Bangladesh, and it has a semi-flexible shell, a distinct nose and face structure, and webbed hands for swimming efficiency. In this blog post, we will explore what makes this turtle so special, its habitat requirements, conservation status, care, and why it’s important to protect this species.

The black softshell turtle, also known as Nilssonia nigricans, is a species of Asiatic softshell turtle found in Southeast Asia. To learn more about this fascinating turtle, visit

How to Care for a Black Softshell Turtle?

The black softshell turtle is not a domesticated species, so it is important to provide the right environment for it in captivity. The optimal enclosure should have an area with shallow water to swim in, as well as the land where they can bask if needed.

The water temperature should be kept between 78-82°F and the basking area should be kept around 90°F.

A basking light and ultraviolet light should be provided to keep the turtle healthy. The enclosure should also have plenty of places for it to hide from other animals, such as logs and rocks, or plants that can provide shelter.
The black softshell turtle, also known as the Nilssonia nigricans, is a fascinating species that shares some similarities with the amazon toad headed turtle.

Anatomy of the Black Softshell Turtle

The black softshell turtle is an aquatic reptile that is native to India and Bangladesh. It is characterized by its semi-flexible shell which allows it to move quite quickly through the water compared to other turtles. Its unique nose structure helps it breathe while submerged underwater while its webbed hands aid in swimming efficiency. These features make the black softshell turtle an extremely agile hunter.
The black softshell turtle is a unique species that can be found in Southeast Asia, unlike the African spurred tortoise which is native to the Sahara desert.

Habitat of the Black Softshell Turtle

The black softshell turtle prefers habitats that are situated in freshwater bodies such as lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands. It can survive in a variety of temperatures because of its ability to tolerate cold water during winter months as well as warm water during summer months.

The black softshell turtle primarily feeds on aquatic animals such as fish, frogs, insects, and plants but will also feed on land animals if available.

To reproduce it builds nests near aquatic bodies where eggs are laid then females guard them until they hatch about two months later.

Conservation Status of the Black Softshell Turtle

The black softshell turtle is listed as an endangered species due to threats from human activities such as poaching for meat and shells, destruction of their natural habitats due to development projects like dams or hydropower plants, and overfishing which reduces their food source.

There are several conservation efforts underway to protect this species including government regulations prohibiting commercial harvesting or trade in these turtles along with educational campaigns to raise awareness about their importance in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Reproductive Habits of Black Softshell Turtles

Black Softshell Turtles offer an interesting look into reptilian reproduction habits due to their unique physical characteristics and ability to adapt well in captivity. By understanding how long it takes for males and females to reach maturity, how often they reproduce each year, and how many eggs are laid per clutch we can gain further insight into their behavior both in captivity and in the wild.

Male Maturation and Breeding

Male Black Softshell Turtles reach sexual maturity when they are between 5-7 years old. Males tend to reach maturity sooner than females, which is typical for many reptilian species. Once mature, males will actively seek out potential mates in order to breed. During the breeding season (typically during spring or summer), males will compete for access to females by engaging in aggressive behavior such as biting other males or pushing them away from a potential mate.

Female Maturation and Breeding

Females typically reach sexual maturity at around 6-8 years old, although this can vary depending on environmental factors such as food availability or temperature fluctuations. Females will usually be receptive to mating once they reach maturity, although they may not be willing to mate with just any male they encounter; instead, they may choose one based on physical characteristics or other behaviors that indicate strength or fitness levels.

Egg Laying and Clutch Size

Once mating has occurred, the female will begin laying eggs after an incubation period of around 90 days. The average number of eggs laid per clutch is between 3-5 eggs but this can vary based on environmental conditions like food availability or temperatures during the incubation period. After laying her eggs, the female will cover them with soil or leaves before leaving them alone until hatching time (which typically takes between 2-3 months).

Common Health Issues in Black Softshell Turtles

While they are generally hardy creatures, they can suffer from some serious health problems if their tank isn’t kept clean and properly maintained. Let’s take a look at some of the common health problems that these turtles may face.

Respiratory Infections

One of the most common issues black softshell turtles can suffer from is respiratory infections, which can be caused by poor water quality or incorrect temperatures in the terrarium. The symptoms of respiratory infection include wheezing or bubbling sounds when breathing, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you believe your turtle is suffering from a respiratory infection, it’s important to seek veterinary help as soon as possible.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Like many other reptiles, black softshell turtles require a balanced diet for optimal health. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies seen in captive turtles. Symptoms include swollen eyes and bulbs around their noses as well as shell discoloration or deformities. If you suspect your turtle is deficient in vitamin A, speak to your vet about giving them supplements or changing their diet accordingly.

Shell Rot

Shell rot is another common issue that black softshell turtles may experience if their tank isn’t kept clean enough or if they don’t receive proper nutrition. Shell rot causes lesions on the turtle’s shell which can become infected if left untreated for too long. The best way to prevent shell rot is to keep your turtle’s tank clean and provide them with nutritious food on a regular basis.

Dietary Requirements

Black softshell turtles are omnivores, which means they need both animal-based and plant-based foods in their diet. For animal food, they should be fed things like worms, crickets, small fish, and shrimp. Dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach should also be included in their diet to provide essential vitamins and minerals. It is important to feed your turtle a variety of foods so that it doesn’t become bored with its diet.

Feeding Frequency

Your black softshell turtle should be fed every day at the same time. Juveniles should be fed twice a day while adults can usually get away with once-a-day feedings. The amount of food you give your turtle depends on its size; younger turtles require smaller portions than older ones do. Your veterinarian can help you determine the appropriate portion size for your particular turtle based on its age and size.


Treats can be given occasionally to your black softshell turtles in moderation as long as they don’t make up more than 10% of the total diet. Some treats include cooked beans and peas, fruits such as apples or bananas, cooked eggs, or boiled carrots or squash. These treats should only be given sparingly so that they don’t upset the balance of nutrition in your turtle’s diet.

The Basics of Housing Black Softshell Turtles

Black softshell turtles are a popular pet for many turtle enthusiasts, and for good reason. These turtles are fascinating to watch and relatively easy to care for. If you’re thinking about acquiring one of these beautiful creatures, it’s important that you understand the basics of housing them properly and providing them with the best environment possible. Let’s take a look at what you need to know when setting up your black softshell turtle’s habitat.

Size Considerations

The size of your black softshell turtle’s terrarium is an important factor when setting up its habitat. You need to consider both the age and size of your turtle when determining the size of the tank they need. As a general rule, juveniles should have 10 gallons of water per inch of shell length while adults will require 20 gallons per inch. For example, if you have an adult black softshell turtle that is 8 inches in shell length, it would require 160 gallons (20 x 8) of water in its tank.

Filtration System

It’s also essential to make sure that your tank has a powerful filtration system installed. This will help keep the water clean and free from bacteria or other contaminants that could harm your turtle’s health. Many filters designed for fish tanks can be used with turtles as well; however, it is important to note that some filters may not be suitable for larger tanks due to their inability to effectively filter large amounts of water. It’s best to consult with an expert before making any decisions about what type of filter is best for your setup.

Substrate & Decorations

The next step is selecting appropriate substrate and decorations for your black softshell turtle’s terrarium. Sand or gravel are great options since they are easy on the turtles’ delicate feet but still provide adequate traction so they can move around freely in their environment. Additionally, adding decorations such as rocks or driftwood can provide hiding places and visual interest in the tank while also helping create an aesthetically pleasing space for you to observe them in their habitat.


Caring for black softshell turtles can be a rewarding experience if done correctly—and taking into consideration these basic housing needs is key! With proper planning and consideration were given to size requirements, filtration systems, substrates, and decorations, you can rest assured that you are providing your new pet with a safe and comfortable home environment where they can thrive! If this feels overwhelming or intimidating at first- don’t worry! With research and guidance from experts familiar with these types of pets, you’ll soon become confident enough to handle any challenge this adventure might bring forth! Happy Turtling!

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