Ryukyu-Yama-Game, Ryukyu Black Breasted Leaf Turtle, Flat Jagged Shell Turtle, Vietnamese Leaf Turtle, Black-breasted Leaf Turtle, Chinese Leaf Turtle
Scientific Name: Geomyda spengleri
A very small turtle, the Leaf Turtle is rarely longer than 4.5 inches. Its carapace, or upper shell, is usually brown and can range in shade from tan to dark brown. The carapace has three keels, or raised ridges, and serrations on the front and rear edges. The plastron, or lower shell, has yellow or cream rings on a black or dark brown background. Female Leaf Turtles have a yellow or cream stripe on either side of their brown or olive head. The skin is usually brown with markings of tan, orange, or olive. They have partially webbed feet and large eyes that protrude from the face.
Asian Leaf Turtles are relatively easy to keep in captivity once they have acclimated and been cleaned out for parasites (there is usually a 50% mortality at least for imported individuals). They do best in an environment that is room temperature (70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit) and a "hot spot" is not vital, nor is a full-spectrum light. They are very hardy little turtles once they acclimate.
Suitable substrates for the Leaf Turtle include crushed bark or a mixture of potting soil and mulch. They should be provided with a shallow water dish to drink from and soak in. They enjoy burrowing, and the substrate should be deep enough to facilitate this behavior. They also should be provided with hiding places such as logs they can hide under.
In captivity Leaf Turtles can be fed on a mostly carnivorous diet of worms, slugs, and snails, but they should also be given plant matter. They should also be given a calcium supplement.
Leaf Turtles are bred in captivity. Spengleri breed constantly, but most eggs are laid during the winter months. One or two very large eggs are produced by individual females. They can lay 4 to 5 clutches during the season. The eggs should be kept on damp vermiculite at a temperature of about 78 degrees Fahrenheit. They hatch within 60 to 90 days. Neonates take slugs and small worms two weeks or so after hatching. Captive bred animals are extremely hardy and worth seeking out.
The Leaf Turtle can be found in southern China, Vietnam, and Hainan Island. They may also exist in Sumatra, Borneo, and the Philippines.
The Leaf Turtle, which is one of the smallest turtles in the world, comes from Asia. It is known by a variety of other names, including "Ryukyu-Yama-Game," "Ryukyu Black Breasted Leaf Turtle," "Jagged Shell Turtle," "Vietnamese Leaf Turtle," "Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle," and "Chinese Leaf Turtle." This little turtle can be quite nervous when first introduced to captivity. Once it becomes acclimated to its new environment, it can make an excellent pet.
A terrestrial animal, the Leaf Turtle spends most of its time on land, though they do soak swim and soak in water sometimes. They are from a moderate climate, where temperatures range between the high 80s and mid 60s (Fahrenheit) throughout the year. They are usually found in mountainous areas, and spend most of their time burrowing and exploring on the ground.
The Leaf Turtle can be found in southern China, Vietnam, and Hainan Island. They may also exist in Sumatra, Borneo, and the Philippines, although it is possible that specimens identified as the Leaf Turtle in these areas were actually juveniles of other species. The first Leaf Turtles known in the western world were those turtles brought in 1961 to a zoo in East Berlin. They were unknown in the United States until 1980. The Leaf Turtle is rarely bred in captivity and is difficult to find outside of its native land.
The exact diet of the Leaf Turtle in the wild is unknown, but it is hypothesized that they feed primarily on leaves, fruit, snails, worms, and insects.