Observations in the Natural Habitat
and First Successful Breeding of
- by H. ARTNER -
Acanthochelys macrocephala occurs from southeastern Bolivia and the Pantanal region of Brazil to the Gran Chaco area of Paraguay (RHODIN et al. 1984, BUSKIRK 1988, IVERSON 1992, VINKE & VINKE 2001). It might be present in the Chaco Austral area of northwestern Argentina as well but this still awaits confirmation. The Gran Chaco in south-central South America comprises approximately 800,000 square kilometers (308,882 square miles) in Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. Bordered in the north by the Sierra de Santiago in Bolivia and by the Andes in the west, it reaches down to the Sierra de Cordoba in Argentina. Its eastern border is the Rio Paraguay. It is one of the driest areas in South America, especially in its western parts.
The turtle tanks are located in a heated basement room in my house in Austria. The three turtles are kept in two glass aquaria measuring 98 x 65 x 35 cm(3.2 x 2.1 ft) each. One female is kept alone whereas the other one is kept in the same tank as the male. The two females are exchanged every month. Water levels vary between 15 cm (5.9") from April to September to 25 cm (9.8") from October to March. In both tanks land parts measuring 60 x 20 x 20 cm (2.0 x 0.7 x 0.7 ft) are inserted in a manner that enough space is left below them for hiding. These land parts are filled with a mixture of earth and sand and kept moist during most of the rainy season. They are accessible via a wooden ramp. A 40 W spot lamp is situated above this ramp and the adjoining areas of the land part, warming it partly to 35 °C (95 °F).
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