Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last update January 1, 2014


The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
in such a fix to be so fertile.
- Ogden Nash


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Cover Image: Iguanas for Dummies.  Book written by Melissa Kaplan.
by Melissa Kaplan

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The following articles are specific to chelonians. You will find more information on general care, keeping, health, and behavior in many of the Care & Keeping sections of this site.

Captive Care and Maintenance of Chaco Tortoises - Wermuth
Chaco Tortoises - Kaplan/Berke
Rearing Tortoise Hatchlings - Highfield
Practical Care & Breeding of Russians - BTT
Sulcata Tortoises - Kaplan


Box Turtles - Kaplan
Box Turtle Care and Conservation - Cook
Red-eared Sliders - Kaplan
Soft-shell Turtles - Kaplan
Tobago, A Visually-Impaired Vietnamese Leaf Turtle - Kaplan
Vietnamese Leaf Turtles (Geoemyda spengleri): Captive Propagation and Husbandry - Buskirk


Box Turtle Housing - Cook


Desert Tortoise Diet Sheet - Kaplan
Diet Considerations of Captive Tortoises - Highfield
Growing Your Own Tortoise Forage - Kaplan Foraging Stuff


Box Turtle Health Issues - Cook
Chelonians: Veterinary Practice & Husbandry - Redrobe
Hibernating Turtles and Tortoises - Morris
Shell Repair in Turtles and Tortoises - Kaplan
Shell-Rot in Turtles and Tortoises - Kaplan
Swallowed Fish Hook Removal Technique - Thraen


Captive Breeding of Chaco Tortoises - Rottman


Genetic Research
Chaco Tortoise Systemics and Bibliography
Origin and evolutionary relationships of giant Galápagos tortoises
Tortoise Phylogenetics


Chelonian Sites
Note: European "box tortoises" = North American box turtles
British Tortoise Trust .
California Turtle and Tortoise Club (CTTC)
World Chelonian Trust
David Kirkpatrick's Turtle Articles - for aquatic and semi-aquatic species - nice videos of turtles in the wild
The Tlady's Guide to Tortoise Diet & Healthy Growth
Turtle Steve's U.S. Turtle Field Guide
The Turtle Portal - multilingual
Turtle Anatomy


Did you know...?
An Australian turtle has learned to breathe through its bottom. The freshwater Fitzroy River turtle (Rheodytes leukops) breathes normally above water, but can remain underwater for long periods by breathing through its combined genital and excretory opening, or cloaca, Craig Franklin of the University of Queensland, Brisbane, told the recent Society for Experimental Biology symposium at the University of Cambridge.

As the turtle pumps water through its cloaca, oxygen is extracted by a surrounding network of blood vessels. This allows it to remain submerged for up to three days to avoid predatory crocodiles, Franklin says. "These turtles can dive for some phenomenal times."

Deep Breathing. New Scientist Magazine, 19 August 2000.


For additional information...
For specific questions or problems, use the chelonian websites above to research the information you are looking for. For discussion with others sharing your interest in chelonians, check out the Turtles/Tortoises email discussion lists as well as herp societies and turtle/tortoise groups. Also check out the turtle & tortoise boards and chats at, where you'll find many knowledgeable hosts and members available to answer questions.  

Need to update a veterinary or herp society/rescue listing?

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