Can African Sideneck Turtles Live With Red Eared Sliders

Two of the most popular aquatic turtle species kept as pets are the red-eared sliders and the African sideneck turtles. Aquarium owners often wonder about the addition of compatible turtles, so the question will arise. Can African Sidenecks live with other species of turtle in the same tank, specifically the read eared slider?

It is possible for these turtle species to live with other animals, yet when they are together, there are certain considerations before you have harmony between the two turtles.

First, Red Eared Sliders are more aggressive than African Sideneck Turtles and may harass smaller turtles or steal their food. Thus, your tank needs to be large enough to accommodate both species, with a minimum size of 55 gallons recommended. The tank should have dry land and water areas, a basking area with a light, and hiding spots.

In our guide, you can learn more about these two turtle species and what they need to keep them happy with a permanent smile on their face. (Read Duck Losing Balance Falling Over)

African Sideneck Turtle

African Sideneck Turtle: A Primer

Sub-Saharan Africa is the natural habitat of African sideneck turtles, also called African helmeted turtles. They are a relatively large species, reaching lengths of up to 12 inches, and are distinguished by their unusual neck, which can retract inside the shell.

Omnivorous African Sideneck Turtles will consume commercial turtle food, live insects, and occasionally fish as part of their diet. They favor water temperatures of 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and basking temperatures of 88 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

Black Sideneck Turtles are capable of a few fascinating maneuvers. They cannot retract their long neck into their shell like other turtles can when they are in danger. This could initially appear a little risky.

To fit the head within the shell, the turtle folds its neck sideways. One of their shoulders is placed next to the head. These turtles can correct themselves when flipped onto their backs, thanks to their long necks. When flipped onto their backs, most other aquatic turtles are defenseless.

If seasonal sources run dry, the African Sideneck can travel far from the water to search for a new home. They bury themselves in the mud and hibernate if there isn’t any water. Several African turtle species may hibernate until the temperature returns to normal during extreme cold or heat periods.

African Sideneck Turtle Lifespan

Black Sideneck is one of the aquatic turtle species that can live for several decades. A well-maintained specimen can live for 30 to 50 years on average compared to other species, and some for longer.

  • Common Names: African Sideneck Turtle, Crocodile
  • Turtle, African Helmeted Turtle, Marsh Terrapin
  • Scientific Name: Pelomedusa subrufa
  • Length: 8 to 12 inches
  • Aquarium Size: 75 gallons
  • Lifespan: 30 to 50+ years
  • Care: Easy to care for

African Sideneck Turtles Size?

Black Sideneck The sex of the turtle you end up with significantly impacts its size. Aquatic turtles have significant sexual dimorphism, making it simple to distinguish between male and female females just by looking at them.

Adult females typically measure 8 to 12 inches, while males are 3 to 4 inches shorter. Additionally, a male Side Neck turtle will have longer forelimb sharp claws he uses to seize a female during mating.

Note: If you plan on having several turtles of the same species, avoid two males together and ensure they are paired with larger fish since smaller fish will be part of their diet. (Read What Animal Eats Christmas Trees)

African Sideneck Turtle Care:


Long-term success with an African Sideneck Turtle environment depends on selecting the proper lighting. It would be best if you had ultraviolet (UBv) and infrared (heat) radiation heat lamp in addition to visible light.

An African Slider turtle’s metabolism is controlled by its environment because they are ectothermic animals, and thus the correct body temperature is essential. The faster it moves, the better it digests its food when you have a hotter ambient temperature. Cold temperatures will also suppress the immune system of your pet Long Neck Turtle.

A basking light should cover the land area of a tank setup for an African Sideneck Turtle, and the surrounding air must be 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.


An African Sideneck Turtle habitat and tank layout need water at about 80°F. A submersible turtle tank heater is necessary for these creatures since they require a lot of heat.

It’s also crucial to have a submersible or hang-on-the-back turtle tank filter. Like all aquatic turtles, African Side Neck Turtles will feed and excrete in the swimming area. Ammonia and bacteria will accumulate in an unfiltered tank in a few days.

To keep the system fresh, you should make routine water changes even if you have a strong turtle tank filter. The turtle tank water is free of dangerous bacteria and ammonia, thanks to regular water changes and filtration.

What Will African Sideneck Turtles Eat

African aquatic turtles are omnivores and eat plant and animal matter. Their primary food source is crayfish, fish, insects, worms, amphibians, and regular servings of soft aquatic vegetation.

They are known as crocodile turtles (don’t get confused with alligator snapping turtles) because of their ambush hunting technique, among other things. African Sideneck Turtles catch and drown doves and other birds that come to drink by cooperating in groups.

The food of an African Sideneck Turtle should be as varied as possible. Mealworms, hissing roaches, and other bugs are sold in neighborhood pet stores along with commercial turtle food.

Combine their protein with veggies such as grated carrots, romaine lettuce, chard, squash, and pumpkin. Even soft fruit with the skin removed, such as slices of apple, melon, strawberries, and grapes, could be provided.

Every day, young turtles should be fed as much as they can in five minutes. Once their growth slows down and they reach adulthood as an African Sideneck Turtle, you should switch to feeding your pet turtle two to three times per week.

American Red Eared Slider

Red-Eared Sliders: A Quick Overview

One of the most often kept other turtles kept as pet turtles is the native American Red Eared Slider. They typically reach a maximum length of 10 inches and are smaller than African Sideneck Turtles.

The red-eared slider prefers to eat meatier foods in the wild, making it more of a carnivore. As omnivores, Red Eared Sliders will eat commercial turtle food, live insects, and fish in the wild.

They favor water temperatures of 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and basking temperatures of 88 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit. While they can co-habit with the African side neck in the same tank, the Red Eared slider pairs better with painted, musk, and other soft-shelled turtles.

African Sideneck and Red-Eared Slider Size Chart for Tank

It’s critical to remember that the tank size ought to be sufficient to house both turtles if you’re thinking about keeping an African side-neck turtle alongside a red-eared slider. Having a tank that is at least four times the size of the largest turtle in the tank is a decent general rule of thumb.

Therefore, you will require a tank that is at least 24 inches long if your red-eared slider is six inches long.

This chart suggests the following minimum tank size for various pairings of these two turtles:

  • Sideneck and Red-Eared Slider Up to 12 inches – 100 gallon
  • Sideneck and Red-Eared Slider 12 to 18 inches – 200 gallon
  • Sideneck and Red-Eared Slider 18 to 24 inches – 300 gallon
  • Sideneck and Red-Ear Slider Over 24 inches need a minimum tank size according to the largest turtle you have as pets.

Ideal Turtle tank for Habitat harmony

Habitat for turtle harmony

If you wish to keep an African side neck turtle and a red-eared slider, you need to utilize a tank that is at least 80 gallons in size. One end of the tank should be at a deeper water depth than the other, with a mixture of land and water portions.

Since both turtles are messy eaters, the water must be well-filtered and maintained clean. The turtles may hide in and bask on a variety of vegetation and logs as well. It is advised to avoid attempting to keep these two species together if you are unable to offer a tank this size.

Ensure you have a mesh on your aquarium for protection against other pets. (Read Two Yolks In One Egg Meaning)

FAQs About African Sideneck Turtles

Do African Sideneck Turtles Bite?

Like most aquatic turtle species, the African pet turtle is not suitable for hobbyists who desire a pet. Holding turtles often causes stress, and may bite or scratch when fed. African turtles are not venomous; they spread harmful bacteria via their skin, jaws, and water. A bite wound could grow infected and require hospitalization.

However, only handle African Side Neck Turtles when cleaning the aquarium. You may need to handle your turtle if its shell becomes algae-covered or if you need to investigate an injury.

Will African Sideneck Turtles Live With Red-Eared Sliders?

While the two can co-habit, it’s best never to mix a pet turtle with a different species. Too many variables can cause issues you may not spot. Turtles can coexist with other species, while others become territorial and hostile.

Can African Sideneck Turtles Live With Fish?

African-side neck Turtles eat fish. However, a full-grown African Sideneck Turtle and small fish may work.

If fed well, your turtle may determine tiny fish are too hard to catch. These can include Zebra Danios, Guppies, and other small, fast-moving species. Bigger fish are irresistible. Turtles eventually corner and eat tank mates.

African Sideneck Turtles Living with Red-Eared Sliders. Should they Co-Habit?

An African side-neck turtle and red-eared slider are freshwater turtles with varied habitat requirements. African side neck turtles prefer slower-moving water with soft substrates, but red-eared sliders prefer environments with both land and strong water.

African side neck turtles are shyer than red-eared sliders. Thus, these turtle turtles should not be kept together. However, they can coexist peacefully if the tank is large enough and has different places for each type of turtle.

Can African Sideneck Turtles Live With Red Eared Sliders

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