Could I keep a Macleay's river turtle outside in Victoria?

Discussion in 'Other Australian Reptiles and Amphibians' started by Ella C, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Ella C

    Ella C Not so new Member

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    I have a 350-litre pond that seems rather empty. Originally meant for goldfish, but I'm not overly passionate about it thus far. I'm located in southern Victoria, could I keep a Macleay's river turtle in it?
     
  2. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Hi mate, unfortunately no you cannot. Macleays are not endemic to Victoria and a Victorian winter and a Victorian summer would kill a Macleay River turtle. Given the small volume of your pond, I imagine its dimensions are too inadequate for any outdoor enclosure, (for turtles) even to house endemic species like Chelodina longicollis, Macrochelodina expansa and Emydura macquarii macquarii.
    Being the smallest species available in the captive pet trade, (females reaching a max SCL of 18cm and males 15cm) Macleays are well suited to life in an indoor aquarium, one individual can be kept comfortably in a 4X2X2 aquarium for life. - if you are experienced in aquarium keeping and have a solid grasp of water chemistry. Macleays are hyper sensitive to ammonia, nitrite and nitrates and are not forgiving when it comes to anything short of the perfect aquarium. They are not "beginners turtles" they are extremely prone to bacterial and fungal skin infections and shell rot. They also have a highly specialised diet that consists of 80% aquatic plant material. I lived on the Macleay river for 17 years and have been keeping this species captive for the better part of my life.

    Adult breeding pair of Macleays -
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    Hatchling Macleay 20150106_093049.jpg


    I'd definitely recommend goldfish or koi for your pond instead.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  3. Ella C

    Ella C Not so new Member

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    Fair enough, thank you! Guess the wild long-neck in our dam is the closest I'll get to keeping turtles for a while. One day.
     
  4. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Eastern long necks are excellent beginners turtles. Compared to Macleays, ELN are bullet proof. You could also definitely keep an ELN for life in a 4×2×2 indoor aquarium. They are substantially easier to keep than Macleays. They are extremely long lived and slow growing. I breed ELN too, currently have 2 clutches of ELN eggs in my incubator. They would be your ultimate turtle choice given your location. :)
     
  5. Ella C

    Ella C Not so new Member

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    But wouldn't a 4x2x2 enclosure 2/3rds filled with water, as most turtle tanks are, contain less liquid than this pond? If the pond were part of a large outdoor (land) enclosure would it work, say for ELN's?
     
  6. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    The difference is an indoor aquarium is a controlled environment whereas an outdoor pond is subject to the elements. I keep Macleays in an indoor 4×3×2 aquarium that's maintained at a constant temperature of 22°- 24°C.. outdoors your pond could fluctuate 10 degrees or more from midday to midnight.. In the height of the day the pond could easily exceed 30°C and drop to 18°C at night. For turtles (ectotherms) you don't want that. An outdoor turtle pond needs to have the minimum dimensions of 2.5m long, 1.5m wide and 0.9m deep at the shallowest point. This allows for a stable water temperature.

    Even if you have a pond with the minimum required dimensions, you could still only keep a Macleay outdoors in southern Victoria during spring and autumn. You'd have to move it to an indoor aquarium over summer and winter.

    I'm in Southern QLD. Winters here get well below zero and winter lasts well into September. All my Macleays are kept indoors as I live some 550km north of their natural range.
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    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  7. Ella C

    Ella C Not so new Member

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    Ohh ok, thanks for summing that up!
     

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