Wood Turtle - Central American

Alternative Name
Painted Wood Turtle, Pracht-Erdschildkröte, Ornate Wood Turtle, Nicaraguan Ornate Wood Turtle Scientific Name: Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima manni

Basic Info

A very attractive animal, the Ornate Wood Turtle is awash in red and black. The face is adorned with thin red lines, and the legs, tail, plastron (underside of the shell), and marginal scutes (sides of the shell) are heavily marked with red and black. The top of the shell, known as the carapace, is a light brown shade and the plastron is yellow with red markings. The shell is moderately elongated in shape. The length of a male Ornate Wood Turtle's shell can reach up to 7 inches, and females can reach about two inches longer. Males can be distinguished from females by the thicker tail and concave plastron.


Like all turtles, it is important that the Central American Ornate Wood Turtle get access to natural light. If you live in the proper climate, they can be taken outside and put in full sun when the weather is at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They should also have access to shaded area to cool off. Generally speaking the Central American Ornate Wood Turtles take a little more care then some other turtles, but not much. The Central American Ornate Wood Turtle should be fed equal amounts of protein and vegatables, be careful not to give them too much phosphorus (such as found in bannanas) and vitamin C. Breeding When courting a female, the male Ornate Wood Turtles noses the female's shell and bobs its head up and down. When the female is receptive to mating, she begins a similar bobbing motion, nose-to-nose with the male. Between May and December the female will bury several clutches of between three and five eggs in soil or litter. The delicate, elongated eggs hatch after several weeks of incubation. The sex of the hatchlings, which average between 35 and 50mm long, depends on the temperature during incubation: Between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius, only male turtles are born. Above 30 degrees Celsius, females will result. Between 27 and 30 degrees, there are both males and females.

 Wood Turtle - Central American picture

Found throughout Central America


The Central American Ornate Wood Turtle is also known as the Pracht-Erdschildkrote, Painted Wood Turtle, or Ornate Wood Turtle. They are native to Central America, as the name would suggest, and are a beautiful animal that is a gracious addition to any terrarium. The Ornate Wood Turtle generally makes its home in damp woodlands and scrublands. They usually are found near water and during dry weather will wade and swim in water. The Ornate Wood Turtle is terrestrial rather than aquatic, meaning it spends most of its time on land. Ornate Wood Turtles are generally quite outgoing and curious. Ornate Wood Turtles are usually active creatures. When mating, males bob their head and nose the female's tail and shell. Later, the female and male both bob their heads. Ornate Wood Turtles can survive in temperatures as high as 44 degrees Celsius and can live in very dry conditions for an extended period.


Central America


Ornate Wood Turtles can be found throughout Central America. They range between Sonora, Mexico, and Costa Rica. They are beneficial to human beings because they feed on many insects that often become pests. Unfortunately, people who want to sell them as pets are taking them out of their natural habitats. Central American Ornate Wood Turtles usually do not do well in captivity.

Common Foods

The Central American Ornate Wood Turtle should be fed equal amounts of protein and vegatables, be careful not to give them too much phosphorus (such as found in bannanas) and vitamin C. In the wild, the Ornate Wood Turtle is omnivorous, meaning it feed

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