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Turtles/Indian roofed turtle (pangshura tecta)


I have a Indian roofed turtle (Pangshura Tecta). What food should I give him to eat?   
Some people tell me that if a turtle blows air from his mouth into our eyes, we become blind. Is it true?

ANSWER: Hi Shubham,

Your turtle is an omnivore, meaning he should be fed both meat and vegetation.  Generally younger turtles will be more carnivorous and then consume more vegetable matter as they mature.  I'll provide a link below to a blog by someone based in India who keeps these turtles, so you can get an idea of how he cares for his.  You may also be able to contact him if you have more questions about your turtle, which may be more helpful to you since I'm in the US and supplies here are probably somewhat different than in India.  If you have a good pelleted diet available to you (Reptomin, or similar), that can form the base of the diet, with fish, worms, snails, etc. added in, along with greens and so forth, but I don't really know if good quality pellets are available in India.  Try to feed as much variety as possible.

As for your second question, no, it's not true.  For one thing, turtles can't blow air--they don't have lips and can't make a blowing motion.  The only way they can expel air at all forcefully is by rapidly pulling in their front limbs, which will create a hissing sound but not much air.  But even if they could do such a thing, it wouldn't cause harm to the eyes anymore than if a human blew air out.  It's just a myth that has no basis in fact whatsoever.

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Spike\'s Image
Spike's Image  
Thank you for your advice madam.
My turtle is 10 months old and He name is spike. As you said I gave him variety of food like, Corinder Leaves, Cucumber, Worms, Turtle food and tomato. But he ate only Corinder-leaves and just smelled everything else I gave him to eat. He loves to Corinder leaves. Is it enough for him or should try something else?
I am sending his image.

ANSWER: No, coriander leaves are definitely not enough.  If they're the only thing he will eat, stop giving them to him at all.  Healthy turtles won't starve themselves, but they can develop food addictions, and the only way to change their habit is to not give them what they want.  So don't feed him for a few days so he gets good and hungry (turtles can go for quite a while without food), then offer small amounts of different foods.  Try live foods that move a lot (worms, small live fish, etc.) and various kinds of greens (turnip, mustard, etc.).  Once he accepts those, try adding in pellets. But definitely don't just give him one type of food, and don't feed too much at one time.  

The other issue is his enclosure.  If you're keeping him in the enclosure in the picture, you really need to get him into a proper setup--a good-sized tank with filter, a real basking area, basking and UVB lights.  A bowl with a rock isn't adequate for a turtle, and what you have him in is much too small.  He needs plenty of room for swimming and basking, and he needs a source of UVB so he can grow properly.  If you don't have an indoor source of UVB, he must be outdoors (not in direct sunlight!) for at least a few hours every day.  Without UVB, he won't be able to metabolize calcium and will eventually develop shell and bone malformations.  

Let me know if you have any other questions.

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QUESTION: For how many days can I keep him starving?
What should be the size of the tank?
Can you please give me some more information about UVB lights and basking area and do we get UVB and Basking bulb in pet shops?

He can easily go without eating for a week or two.  Generally they won't go longer than that without eating unless they're actually ill.

I don't know quite what size he is now, but if he's about 3" long, he should be in a 40 gallon or larger tank.  As an adult, he'll probably need about an 80 gallon.  The filter should be sized so that it can handle twice the tank's capacity (so for a 40 gallon tank, the filter should be sized for 80+ gallons).  It's very important to have good filtration.

The basking area can be anything that the turtle can climb up on and bask under the lights.  You can buy basking platforms, or make one yourself.  I'll add some links that will give you more information about how to set up a tank and general turtle care.  Unfortunately, I can't really help you with the UVB bulb, because I don't know what supplies you have there.  The one I use is a ZooMed Powersun 100 watt.  You might be able to contact the person whose blog I linked earlier and ask what he uses.

I haven't been able to find any care sheets for Pangshura turtles, but North American map turtle care is probably pretty close;  water temperature should be at the higher end of the range (so about 76-78 degrees).

Hope this was helpful to you.  Let me know if you have more questions.  


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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