Do Reeves Turtles Need Water? A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re looking to add an aquatic pet to your home, you might be wondering if the Reeves turtle is the right choice. One of the most common questions people have about this species is, do Reeves turtles need water? Well, the simple answer is yes! This species is native to the freshwater habitats of China, and it’s essential to provide a similar environment for them in captivity. If you’re considering adopting a Reeves turtle, it’s vital to understand their biology and how to meet their needs to keep them healthy and happy.

Reeves turtles are fascinating creatures, known for their lively personalities and striking appearance. They feature a distinctive spotted shell and bright red eyes that make them stand out in any habitat. These turtles are also relatively easy to care for, provided you have the right habitat set up. This species requires a spacious tank with plenty of clean, fresh water to swim and bask in, as well as a proper diet of aquatic plants and insects. By meeting these basic needs, you can provide a comfortable home for your Reeves turtle to thrive in.

While Reeves turtles are popular pets, they require a significant commitment to care for them properly. Investing in the right equipment, including an appropriate tank, heat and UVB lighting, and a reliable water filtration system, is crucial for their well-being. With proper care, however, these turtles can make rewarding and engaging pets for anyone interested in aquatic life. So if you’re considering adding a Reeves turtle to your family, rest assured that they do need water, but with attention and effort, you can provide them with a comfortable and happy home.

Habitat of Reeves Turtle

The Reeves turtle, also known as the Chinese pond turtle or the yellow pond turtle, is a semi-aquatic turtle species that is native to China. These turtles are mainly found in slow-moving rivers, streams, ponds, and marshes throughout southern and eastern China. Reeves turtles are also found in rice paddies and canals. They prefer areas that are densely vegetated and have plenty of hiding spots, such as overhanging branches, logs, and rocks.

Reeves turtles are known for their adaptable nature, which is why they are often kept as pets. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor environments.

Physical Characteristics of Reeves Turtle Habitat

  • Slow-moving rivers
  • Streams
  • Ponds
  • Marshes
  • Rice paddies
  • Canals

Important Factors in Reeves Turtle Habitat

When creating the ideal habitat for a Reeves turtle, there are several key factors to consider:

  • Water: Reeves turtles are semi-aquatic and require a large body of water to swim in. The water should be deep enough for them to submerge completely and have room to swim around. Fresh, clean water is important, as they are sensitive to pollutants and contaminants.
  • Basking Areas: Reeves turtles require a dry area to bask in. This can be a floating platform, a rock, or a log. The basking area should be close to the water so that they can easily move back and forth between the water and the basking area.
  • UV Lighting: Reeves turtles require exposure to UV lighting to aid in their digestion and calcium absorption. UVB bulbs should be placed above the basking area to provide the necessary lighting.
  • Temperature: Reeves turtles are ectothermic animals, which means they rely on the external environment to regulate their body temperature. The water temperature should be kept between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit and the basking area should be around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Hiding Spots: Reeves turtles require plenty of hiding spots in their habitat to feel safe and secure. This can include overhanging branches, caves, or plants.


The habitat of a Reeves turtle is a crucial factor in their overall health and well-being. As a semi-aquatic species, providing a suitable habitat that includes plenty of water, basking areas, UV lighting, the appropriate temperature, and hiding spots is essential for their survival. If you are planning on keeping a Reeves turtle as a pet, it’s important to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible to ensure they live a happy and healthy life.

Characteristics of Reeves Turtle

Reeves turtle, also known as Chinese pond turtle or Chinese stripe-necked turtle, is a small freshwater turtle that is native to eastern and southeastern Asia. Here are some of the interesting characteristics of this species:

  • Size: Reeves turtle is a small-sized turtle that can grow up to 15 cm (6 inches) in length. Males are usually smaller than females, and they have long tails and longer claws compared to females.
  • Coloration: This species has a dark olive-green to brownish-black carapace (top shell) with yellow stripes and spots. Its plastron (bottom shell) is yellowish or cream-colored with dark blotches around the edges. The skin of the head, neck, and limbs is dark with yellow stripes.
  • Habitat: Reeves turtle is primarily an aquatic species that inhabits slow-moving water bodies, such as ponds, lakes, marshes, and streams, with some vegetation. It needs basking sites, such as logs or rocks, where it can dry off and warm up its body temperature.

One of the most critical aspects of keeping Reeves turtle in captivity is its habitat requirements.

In the wild, this species spends most of its time swimming, basking, and foraging for food. Therefore, providing a suitable aquatic environment in captivity is a must. Without proper water quality and temperature, Reeves turtle is susceptible to various health problems, such as respiratory infections, shell rot, and fungal infections.

Additionally, Reeves turtle is an ectothermic species, which means that it relies on external sources to regulate its body temperature. Therefore, providing a basking area with a heat lamp or sun lamp is crucial. A basking spot should have a temperature gradient ranging from 26 to 32°C (78 to 90°F), where the turtle can regulate its body temperature by moving closer or away from the heat source.

Overall, Reeves turtle is a fascinating species that requires proper care and attention to thrive in captivity. Providing a suitable habitat with clean water, temperature gradients, and basking spots are essential for its health and well-being.

Common name: Reeves turtle
Scientific name: Mauremys reevesii
Size: Up to 15 cm (6 inches) in length
Lifespan: Up to 20 years in captivity
Habitat: Ponds, lakes, marshes, and streams with vegetation
Diet: Omnivorous (plants, insects, fish, and small animals)
Behavior: Solitary, diurnal, and semi-aquatic


Food and diet of Reeves Turtle

Reeves turtle is an omnivore that eats a variety of food. They require a balanced diet to stay healthy and live a long life. Their diet includes both animal protein and vegetation. In this article, we will explore in-depth the food and diet of Reeves Turtle.

What does Reeves Turtle eat?

  • Vegetation – Reeves turtles eat various types of vegetation, including aquatic plants, fallen fruits, and berries.
  • Animal Protein – Reeves turtles also feed on small aquatic animals like insects, crustaceans, snails, and small fish.
  • Supplements – In captivity, they also require a source of Vitamin D3, which they can get from sunlight or supplements.

How much should Reeves Turtle eat?

Reeves turtles should be fed daily, but the amount of food depends on the age and size of the turtle. Feeding too much or too little can lead to health problems. The rule of thumb is to feed them as much food as they can eat in 15-20 minutes.

Dietary supplements for Reeves Turtle

In captivity, Reeves turtles require a balance of calcium and Vitamin D3 to stay healthy. Calcium is necessary for strong bones and proper growth. Vitamin D3 is essential for the turtle’s body to absorb calcium effectively. Without Vitamin D3, turtles may develop shell problems.

Dietary Supplements What it does How to administer
Calcium Supplements Builds strong bones and shell Sprinkle supplements on food or put a cuttlebone in their tank.
Vitamin D3 Supplements Helps the body absorb calcium Exposing turtles to sunlight or providing UVB lamps for 10-12 hours a day.

Reeves turtles are a wonderful pet to own, but it’s crucial to understand their dietary needs to provide them with a healthy and long life. The diet and food of Reeves Turtle require a balance of vegetation, animal protein, and supplements.

Reproduction of Reeves Turtle

Reeves turtles are known for their unique courtship and mating behaviors. Below are some key aspects of the reproduction of Reeves turtles:

  • The breeding season begins in early spring and can last until early summer.
  • Males are known for chasing the females, biting their legs, and mounting them.
  • During mating, the male clings onto the female’s shell using his claws while positioning himself for penetration.

After mating, females will start producing eggs. The number of eggs produced varies based on the age and size of the female. Large females can lay up to 15 eggs, while younger ones may only lay 2-3 eggs.

Once the eggs are produced, the females will start searching for a suitable nesting site. Typically, the nesting site is chosen near water, which is important for the eggs’ development. Females will dig a hole up to 6 inches deep and lay the eggs one by one. The eggs are then covered with soil, and the female will return to the water

Egg Incubation Temperature Hatch Time
45-75 days 80-82°F Mid-August to Early September

The eggs will incubate for 45-75 days, depending on the temperature. The warmer the temperature, the faster the eggs will hatch. Typically, the eggs will hatch in mid-August to early September. Once the eggs hatch, the young turtles will dig out of the nest and make their way to the water, where they will start their life cycle as a juvenile turtle.

Threats and Conservation of Reeves Turtle

Reeves turtle (Mauremys reevesii) is a small freshwater turtle native to East Asia. Despite their beauty and importance in the ecosystem, Reeves turtles are facing numerous threats in the wild. In this section, we will discuss the major threats and conservation measures taken to protect this endangered species.

  • Loss of Habitat: One of the biggest threats to Reeves turtles is the destruction of their natural habitats due to urbanization, agriculture, and industrialization. This loss of habitat leads to a decline in nesting sites, food sources, and suitable habitats for hibernation.
  • Pollution: Water pollution caused by industrial waste, agricultural run-off, and chemical spills negatively affects the health and survival of the Reeves turtle. They are highly sensitive to changes in water quality.
  • Collection for Pet Trade: Due to their attractive appearance and docile nature, Reeves turtles are popular as exotic pets. The high demand for these turtles in the pet trade has led to the illegal collection of wild turtles, causing a significant decline in wild populations.

To protect Reeves turtles from extinction, several conservation measures have been taken, including:

  • Habitat Management: Wildlife conservationists and environmental organizations are taking steps to protect and restore the natural habitats of Reeves turtles. This includes preserving wetlands, promoting sustainable agriculture, and reducing pollution to maintain the water quality in their habitats.
  • Legal Protection: Reeves turtles are listed as an endangered species under many international treaties, national and provincial laws, and regulations. These laws protect them from exploitation, commercial trade, and habitat destruction.
  • Captive Breeding: To reduce the demand for wild caught Reeves turtles, captive breeding programs have been established to increase their numbers in captivity. These programs are designed to preserve genetic diversity and release captive-bred turtles into the wild to supplement wild populations.

Table 1 below summarizes the current conservation status of the Reeves turtle in its native range.

Conservation Status Description
CITES Appendix II Trade of the Reeves turtle is regulated and restricted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
IUCN Red List The Reeves turtle is classified as endangered due to the significant decline in wild populations.
Chinese Wildlife Protection Law The Reeves turtle is a Class II protected species under Chinese law, which means it is illegal to collect, transport, or sell them without a permit.

The conservation of Reeves turtles is a crucial step in preserving the biodiversity of East Asia. It requires the cooperation and efforts of governments, conservation organizations, scientists, and the public to protect this species and its habitats.

Importance of Water for Reeves Turtle

Reeves turtles are semi-aquatic species, which means that they need both water and land to thrive. Water is essential to their survival as it plays a vital role in various aspects of their life, including:

  • Hydration: Just like every other living being, turtles need to stay hydrated. Turtles primarily get their water intake from the water they swim in and the food they eat. Drinking enough water helps keep their body functioning at optimal levels and prevents dehydration.
  • Regulating body temperature: Reeves turtles, like most reptiles, are ectothermic, which means they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. Water provides an excellent source of heat exchange that can help them regulate their body temperature.
  • Maintenance of hygiene: Water is vital for maintaining good sanitation, especially for aquatic species like Reeves turtles. Regularly soaking in water helps them keep their skin clean and healthy, which significantly reduces the risk of skin infections and diseases.
  • Facilitating breeding: Water is crucial for the survival of the young turtles. Reeves turtles lay their eggs in the sand or soil near the water’s edge, and the young hatchlings must immediately enter the water to survive. The hatchlings rely on the water for food and protection from predators, and many perishing in their first months of life.
  • Enabling Physical exercise: Turtles need water to swim, and swimming is essential for maintaining good physical health. Regular exercise helps them maintain their muscles and overall health, which allows them to continue to thrive.
  • Natural habitat: Water is the natural habitat of most turtle species, including Reeves turtles. Fewer natural environments can mimic a safe and appropriate habitat for survival, making captivity a necessity. Providing the least stressful, closest to natural habitat cave-like or tub setups is essential for their overall welfare.


In conclusion, water is critical to the survival of the Reeves turtle species. These semi-aquatic animals rely on water for various reasons, including nutrition, regulation of body temperature, hygiene, and exercise. Owners of Reeves turtles should ensure that these semi-aquatic turtles have an adequate source of water with proper sanitation to maintain their health and welfare.

Subtopics Details
Hydration Turtles need water to stay hydrated, functioning optimally
Regulating body temperature Water regulation as a source of heat exchange to regulate their body temperature.
Maintenance of hygiene Water helps Reeves turtles stay clean with healthy skins
Facilitating breeding The crucial role of water in breeding and reproduction of Reeves turtles
Enabling physical exercise Importance of swimming as an exercise for maintaining good physical health
Natural habitat Reeves turtles rely on water as their natural habitat

Content in this article is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as veterinary or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed veterinarian or other qualified professional for specific guidance on caring for your pet.

Comparison with other Turtle species

Reeves turtles are among the most popular species of turtles kept as pets. But how do they compare to other turtle species?

  • Red-eared sliders: Reeves turtles are often compared to red-eared sliders, as they have similar care requirements. Both turtles are known for being hardy and easy to care for, but red-eared sliders tend to be more active and have a longer lifespan.
  • Painted turtles: Reeves turtles and painted turtles are both native to North America and have similar diets. However, painted turtles have a more varied diet and are known to eat aquatic plants in addition to animal matter.
  • Box turtles: Box turtles are terrestrial turtles that need little to no water in their habitat. Reeves turtles, on the other hand, need an aquatic environment to thrive.

Overall, Reeves turtles are a great choice for beginners looking to keep a pet turtle but may not be the best fit for those looking for an active or more varied species.

Do Reeves Turtles Need Water FAQs

Q: Do Reeves turtles need water to survive?
A: Yes, Reeves turtles need water to survive as they are semi-aquatic creatures.

Q: Can Reeves turtles live without water?
A: No, Reeves turtles cannot live without water for long periods of time. They require both water and land to thrive.

Q: How much water do Reeves turtles need?
A: Reeves turtles need a water area that is at least two to three times the size of their body. This gives them enough room to swim and move around.

Q: What kind of water do Reeves turtles need?
A: Reeves turtles prefer clean, fresh water that is at room temperature. Their water should be changed and filtered regularly.

Q: Can Reeves turtles drink the water they swim in?
A: Yes, Reeves turtles can drink the water they swim in, but they should also have a separate source of clean drinking water available to them.

Q: Can Reeves turtles live in a water-only habitat?
A: No, Reeves turtles cannot live in a water-only habitat. They require both water and land to bask and dry off.

Q: Are Reeves turtles good swimmers?
A: Yes, Reeves turtles are good swimmers and can remain underwater for extended periods of time.

Closing Thoughts on Do Reeves Turtles Need Water

We hope these FAQs have helped you understand the essential role that water plays in the life of Reeves turtles. Remember that providing clean, fresh water is crucial to their health and happiness. Thank you for reading, and be sure to visit us again for more informative articles!