Malayan box turtles, also known as Amboina box turtles or simply “Ambo,” bring joy to many households in Singapore as beloved reptile companions. These turtles have a unique charm, originating from tropical rainforests with high humidity and temperatures. In the wild, you’ll never find them in places where the temperature dips below 20C, adding a touch of warmth to their nature. Plus, they hold the title of being the most aquatic among all box turtle species worldwide.
Taking care of a Malayan box turtle is a responsibility that demands a bit of special know-how. Don’t hesitate to chat with your vet for accurate information on giving the best care to your new friend. In the meantime, here is a short overview of how to take care of your Malayan box turtle.
Housing Your Turtle
When kept as pets, Malayan box turtles are generally treated as an aquatic species and adapt well with proper aquarium management. You can house one adult turtle in a minimum of a 20-gallon or a 75L-sized aquarium. If your pet is above average in size, adjust accordingly.
Ideally, the enclosure should have tall sides and no top. Box turtles are good climbers, so ensure that the sides are high enough so your pet cannot reach up and hoist itself over the rim. An ideal setup is an aquarium that provides a water area and land area of approximately a 50:50 ratio.
A water depth of 6 inches to 10 inches would be fine, and the water temperature should ideally be between 26C to 29C. You can perhaps invest in a reliable water heater, as well as water pumps and a filtration system. You can also cover the tank at an angle to maintain a high humidity level and air temperature. But since Singapore is also in the tropical range, this won’t be necessary.
Feeding Your Turtle
In the wild, aquatic plants provide the primary food source for the Malayan, so try to procure some aquatic greens, veggies, and fruits. But be careful of veggies that are high in oxalic acids, such as spinach and rhubarb, since they can cause calcium deficiency.
The Ambo is omnivorous in its diet– you can also feed them snails, earthworms, mealworms, shrimps, and thawed pinky mice. You may also give them commercially prepared turtle pellets. Giving them a variety of food keeps them healthy and happy. Be sure to research their vitamin requirements so you can plan meals accordingly. It would be nice to enrich their diet with vitamin powder, even for just once a month or so.
Adult Malayans don’t require large feedings on a daily basis. You can feed your pet daily or every other day. Hatchlings and young turtles, on the other hand, should be fed twice daily with a rich-protein diet—usually animal food. Offer their meals on a flat rock or a dish, so they don’t ingest substrate with the meal.
If your enclosure is indoors, you need to get a special bulb for your pet. There are reptile light fixtures available on the market. They serve as warming lamps and can simulate the rays of the sun. The area under the warming light should be about 28C to 32C during the day. You can turn these off at night, but be sure to maintain the water temperature.
Having a Malayan box turtle also comes with knowing their behavioural patterns and understanding when they are not ‘normal’ or healthy. Be in the know about the common conditions that afflict pet turtles, such as shell fractures, shell infections, respiratory diseases, vitamin deficiencies, abscesses, and parasites. You should also know when to be concerned about non-specific issues like lack of appetite and lethargy.
Be in the Know
Malayan box turtles make fascinating pets, and if you’re considering bringing one into your home, it’s essential to gather all the necessary information to ensure their well-being.
In your journey of responsible pet ownership, Clubpets stands as your trusted ally in all things pet care. Whether you share your home with curious cats, playful dogs, graceful fish, or charming terrapins, we’ve curated a comprehensive collection of resources to ensure your pet receives its best care.
Additionally, be sure not to miss our Singapore Pet Expo 2024. Immerse yourself in a captivating experience filled with enjoyable activities, enlightening workshops, and an exclusive sneak peek at the latest products designed to enhance the quality of life for your pets.
At Clubpets, we’re more than just a source of information; we’re your partner in creating a fulfilling life for your furry companions!