These two little Black-breasted Leaf Turtles came from southern China. It is always best to purchase turtles which were bred in captivity, however an extensive search for a captive bred leaf turtle was unsuccessful. I decided to buy the only pair of Geoemyda spengleri I could find and breed them. Curious Goods had this pair. Although it's a long flight from California to Alaska, the little turtles arrived in excellent condition.

Their carapaces have deep serrations at the rear and small serrations at the front, perhaps as a camouflage adaptation for the leaf-covered mountain forests where they live. But the pointed shells made me think of stars, so they have been given (at least tentatively) the names Chen-xing, for the light colored female, and Wan-xing for the darker male.


The black-breasted leaf turtle takes it's common name from the dark plastron, which is black in both of these specimens but can be very dark brown, gray or green.

The male (right) has a much larger tail and a slightly concave plastron.


Females (left, below) have a prominent stripe on each side of the head, while males (right) may have a faint stipe or none at all. This male has a faint stripe, not visible in the picture. He also has violet colored skin on his neck.


Skin coloration is variable. These two have orange and brown speckled skin.
The eyes are white and prominent making them look constantly surprised.



There has been some disagreement on the best temperature to provide maximum comfort for spengleri turtles. I set up an outdoor pen with a hot rock and ceramic heater in one area which kept that section at about 85 degrees F. Our summer temperatures (in Alaska) range from low 50's to high 60's. Free to move around the 32 'sq. enclosure, the turtles can find an area with a temperature to their liking within a range of 55+ to 85 degrees during the day. I made note of where I found the turtles, and what the temperature was at those locations, at least twice each day for a week. They were never found in a temperature lower than 60 nor higher than 72. The average was 66. This was not a scientific study, just a brief test of individual preferences. This pair seemed to prefer cool areas, and avoid warm areas, of the enclosure.

While they appear constantly alert, this pair is content to hide under sphagnum moss or burrow by a plant in their outdoor terrarium for most of the day. They become most active in the early evening, and they often move about together. They are a pleasure to watch with their delicate motions and their lovely muted colors. It is my hope that this pair will enjoy long lives and produce many offspring.

Back to CareSheet for Geoemyda spengleri
See baby pix at the breeding page
Back to Exotic Turtles
If you have information regarding the successful breeding of
this species, or if you have questions about them, email me.