The Argentine Side Necked turtle (aka the Spot-Bellied turtle), are popularly known is one of the most spectacular species of turtles. The Argentine Side Necks are mostly found in the Amazon region of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina in South America. These are large turtles growing up to 16 inches.
The male of the species is smaller and can grow up to 12-13 inches. It has a characteristic black stripe extending on both sides from the nostrils, across the eyes to the neck. Another pair of black stripes is usually present on its throat. It has a yellow-orange plastron with black spots. The patterns of dots on each turtle are like fingerprints. These spots give the Argentine Side Necked Turtle its Uruguayan name “Tortuga de vientre manchado” or the Spot-Bellied turtle. The carapace of the Phrynops Hilarii is non-serrated and oval. The color of the carapace varies from olive to dark brown and grey. Another characteristic feature of this species is the barbels hanging under the jaw. There are a few turtles that have a smile as charming as the Argentine Side Necked Turtle.
Native of the water bodies of the amazon forests that are abundant with aquatic vegetation especially, reeds, water lettuce, lentils and water lilies. It is essential to design an aquarium that best resembles its natural habitat. The Argentine Side Necked turtles are not very active and prefer to bask a lot. However these are excellent swimmers and need larger and deeper aquariums than many other turtles. You might fix caves as hiding places and standing decors. Watching the turtles swim through these is quite a sight.
The Argentine Side Necked Turtles are essentially carnivores and feed on small fishes, tadpoles, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic insects, crickets and worms. They are excellent predators and can be fed live meat. In captivity you can feed them assorted worms, Cichlid Sticks, Mazuri and ReptoMin, pre-killed small fish, earthworms, snails or balls of meat ground with supplements such as calcium, protein and vitamins.