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Mesoamerican River Turtle
May 5, 2010
3:44 pm
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johnpeten
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We have now captured the rare Dermatemys mawii. It is an endangered species because it is hunted for food.
They can grow up to 24 inches weighing about 40 lbs.
The are vegetarians and nocturnal feeders.

They are not as colourful as our sliders.
I will take some more photos when it has settled.

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May 5, 2010
10:42 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Wow! Found in the lake itself John?

Cake or death?
May 5, 2010
10:55 pm
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Malti
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lovely specimen

May 6, 2010
1:12 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ May 5 2010, 04:25 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow! Found in the lake itself John?


Yes Matt. The boys found it among some rocks which they were collecting from the "beach"
The University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology has made an in depth study of this Turtle which is only found in Southern Mexico and the North and East of Guatemala.
I have a female. They note that although this Turtle is very placid, if a female and male are put in the same tank they will fight.
Everything about this turtle is unusual and it makes interesting reading.
She is twice the size of my slider, which I believe is also a female. At the moment they ignore each other.
It is protected by international law and I could be marched off to the clink /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" /> but it is safer in my house than the Lake.

May 6, 2010
7:44 am
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Bluedave
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Great find John, better in your house than on someones plate!

May 6, 2010
10:50 am
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johnpeten
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During the night she ate 5 slices of cucumber. We now have to find other food for her. I also put flake into the tank but we are not sure who ate it.

May 6, 2010
11:21 am
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Matt
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Anything with decent levels of calcium in it should be good John - do you have kale, watercress or equivalent dark green veggies over there?

Cake or death?
May 6, 2010
12:18 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ May 6 2010, 05:04 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Anything with decent levels of calcium in it should be good John - do you have kale, watercress or equivalent dark green veggies over there?


The village market has a dark green leaf veggie which my rabbits and budgies don't like, I will try this. I can buy spinach (at a price) from Walmart, the budgies and rabbits go crazy over this.

May 6, 2010
2:37 pm
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johnpeten
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A better photo showing the head. This turtle rarely comes to the surface for air. Water is sucked into the mouth and exhaled through the large nostrils. It has an advanced "gill" system for extracting oxygen.
This genus was once found worldwide but during the last million years or so has only survived in its present location. This genus and species is now unique.

The eggs take 8 to 10 months to hatch which probably is one of the reasons for its rarity.

The yellow stripe behind the eye is only found in juveniles. Males develop a golden patch on top of their heads.

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May 8, 2010
2:52 pm
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Matt
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Certainly a cool animal John, thanks as ever for sharing it with us. Don't think you'll need to pay extra for the spinach; although it has a decent calcium content by percentage not as much is made available during metabolism as in the other veggies listed. Can't remember exactly why though. /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" />

Cake or death?
May 9, 2010
3:17 am
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holacanthus
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Nice animal, John.

In view of its rareness, will you try to breed it or try to release it back to its original habitat (a safer one)? Otherwise there would be one individual less for breeding in the wild.

May 9, 2010
11:40 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (holacanthus @ May 8 2010, 09:00 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nice animal, John.

In view of its rareness, will you try to breed it or try to release it back to its original habitat (a safer one)? Otherwise there would be one individual less for breeding in the wild.

Unfortunately it is not that simple. The breeding cycle of this turtle is governed by the annual weather cycle. The fertilisation occurs during the rainy season (late Summer) and the eggs are buried in the flood plain. They are incubated when the water recedes, this takes 8 to 10 months. When the flood starts again the following year the hatchlings are ready to swim off. Mother Nature is very clever.
How these Turtles have their brief tempestuous love affair is unknown as it has been discovered that they are unable to cohabitate. This leads to domestic violence.

This Turtle has very strong legs for swimming but on land its legs cannot support its own weight. Another unusual feature of this Turtle.

The Turtle was discovered by some of my friends amongst rocks on the civilised side of the Lake but in an area not normally frequented by local people. If the Turtle had been discovered by somebody else, it would have been eaten by now. It will eventually be released back into the Lake but in a remote area not normally accessible by Homo sapiens.
Man is its only enemy now as our Lake Alligators are now extinct, except in private protected enclaves.

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