African Sideneck Turtle Won't Bask


New Member
Aug 7, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
I've had my african sideneck for 5 weeks and he is still not basking. The water temperature stays around 75 degrees. I have a 75 watt light as well as a a uvb. The basking area stays around 95 degrees. He seems comfortable with us now and greets us when we walk into the room. Is there any suggestions on how to get him to bask? He is starting to have algae grow on his shell and I don't want it to rot. Thanks

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I'm not a water turtle person, but I don't think they DO bask.

@Markw84. ??


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 17, 2012
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
I do not keep that species - so no direct personal experience.

I would not worry about it basking if the conditions are good. Many turtles prefer to stay in the water and float bask or hang in plants or shallow water where they can get plenty of UVB as needed without going out of the water. African sidenecks also spend a good deal of the year buried in mud - waiting for the rainy season to return and pools and lakes to refill. So I don't see them as basking like our N American temperate basking turtles do. Most tropical species do not also need to bask to raise body temperatures.

Do not worry about shell rot. It is not caused by not being able to dry out. It is caused by bacteria and unsanitary conditions. Soft shells are caused by lack of calcium and/or vitamin D - also not by being constantly wet. That is one of those old persistent myths that kind of sounds like it has merit, but has nothing to do with what actually causes rot or soft shells. A healthy turtle in good conditions does not "need" to dry out.

Many turtles develop a nice growth of algae on their shells as a result of liking to stay in the water and not pulling out to bask like other species. Snappers, musk, mud, even some cooters are commonly seen with thick growths of algae on their shell. Sometimes it does not go away until their next shed.

So don't worry. Just keep the conditions correct and your turtle will do what it needs to do. Sounds like you are providing the necessary things to allow that to happen.