African Mud Turtle

Animal File

Rivers and streams
Swamps & marshes
Common Name:
African Mud Turtle
Scientific Name:
Pelusios castaneus
Size: Up to 30cm
Conservation Status
Not evaluated

The West African mud turtle or West African side-necked turtle (Pelusios castaneus) is a part of the Pleurodia suborder of turtles, or the sideneck turtle group and are endemic to West Africa. This means they have the ability to draw their heads into their shells horizontally, tucking them in the space in front of one of their front legs.

The wild populations of these animals are coming under strain from the pet industry and from Asian food and medicine markets. 

Most of the African mud turtles at the Oceanarium have been rescued by the RSPCA in need of rehoming. They can grown up to 30cm making them unsuitable for most home aquariums. 


Talks and Feeding times

Children under 3 yrs FREE!! See other tickets

The health of our aquarium family, which includes our visitors, staff and animals, is our top priority. In light of the most recent advice from Public Health England and the government, we will be temporarily closing the Oceanarium Bournemouth effective immediately, until further notice.

We apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience caused.

Please be assured that our dedicated keeper team will continue to provide the best care for our animals during the closure.

If you’ve booked tickets for any day during this closure, you can exchange them for any other date in 2020 or we can provide a refund. Please send your booking details to

We’ll keep you informed through our website and social media channels. Thank you for your patience and we really look forward to welcoming you back to the Oceanarium when we re-open. Stay safe everyone.