Kinixys Belliana Nogueyi care sheet.

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5 Year Member
Sep 25, 2012
Western Hingeback Tortoise. (Kiniyxs Belliana Nogueyi).

This species of tortoise make for a brilliant and facinating pet.
The advice here is based on my own experience of keeping a group of 5 females and 1 male for over ten years and we have recently hatched 5 hatchlings from 6 eggs.

These are an African species which live in scrub and grassylands.

Size and description:

Medium to small tortoise.
Males are normally smaller than females with few exceeding 8 inches.
Females are larger and can reach sizes of 11-12 inches.
Shell colour can vary greatly with this species with some dark brown and bland to others with a sandy base colour with speckled and dappled markings and some almost black with subtle radiating patterns. Typically males are less marked than females.
You will see the difference in the pictures below.


This species of hingeback does not require high humidity 24 hours a day like some other species of Kinyxs but does benefit from periods of high humidity throughout the day. They can be housed in both vivariums and tortoise tables with viv's being easier to control humidity.
Plenty of hides should be provided in both the cool and hot end of the enclosure. Cork bark or plastic flower pots cut in half will work fine.
A large water source should be available at all times. It should be big enough that the entire tortoise can fit in to wallow. Be sure to keep it shallow enough so the tortoise can lift it's head out and breath. 2-3cms should do.
The substrate should be deep enough for the tortoise to dig down so 5-6 inches deep min. We use a horticultural grit/soil mix with a top layer of forest floor substrate. A sand/soil mix is fine. This type of substrate will help with humidity along with areas of sphagnum moss.

Lighting and heat.

A low spectrum UV tube should be provided with plenty of cover for the tortoise to retreat to. Like the exoterra forest tubes.
We use ceramic bulbs for heat and the temperature should range from low 20's cool end to 27c-28c hot end with a hot spot of 28c-30c. They will occasionally use this hot spot.


Unlike most land tortoises Hingebacks are ominvorous. While their staple diet should be mainly greens occasional protein is needed. We feed ours dandoline greens, sow thistle and a clover mix along with banana, strawberries and other fruits but never acidic fruits. The ratio of greens to fruit should be 70:30 per feed to provide enough fibre and solid poops. Shop bought greens such as rocket is ok once in a while or in winter when weeds are scarcely available. Feel free to mix grass in with the food mix.
For protein we feed worms and snails once/twice a week. Some will take slugs too. Provide as much as they can eat in one sitting or alternatively little and often is a method which works fine too. When doing the gardening a juicy worm found never goes to waste. This is the only protein we provide but it is ok to feed very small pinkies and mealworms but make sure to gutload the latter. Calcium supplement should be provided at every feeding. We also provide mazuri/nutrazu pellets on occasion which always goes down a treat and is a great supplement.


If attempting to breed when the female is gravid and getting ready to lay she will become restless. We describe this behaviour as "climbing the walls" because that is literaly what they do. If you see this behaviour a nesting area should be provided for her to dig in. They can dig down deep so I'd say a minimum depth of 1 foot (12 inches) is a must. Luckily the mother of our babies dug out in the garden. We provided a heat lamp for her and left her to it. From starting to dig to laying and then filling in the nest it took 6 hours. They are perfectionists when it comes to nesting and we have had females dig for hours and then walk away from a nest.
Temporary nest boxes don't normally work so it's best to provide and area deep enough from the start so she knows it's there.

We incubated our clutch at 27.5c with a constant humidity of 80+%. It took 128 days for the first to hatch to
148 days for the last. Sex is unknown as at the time of writing they are only 7 months.

After the eggs hatch hatchlings should be kept in the incubator for 24-48 hours but seperated from the other eggs to prevent any damage. At this stage the yolk sack should be absorbed and the housing requirments and diet is identical to that of the adults only on a smaller scale. They can be housed together up to 3-4 months but have to be seperated after that. They will try to establish a pecking order with the most dominant biting the rear limbs of the less dominant. At the first sign of this they should be housed separatly.


1. Spray down the enclosure min twice a day with a fine plant sprayer or purchase a ultrasonic humidifer and run it a few times a day.

2. Never house males together as they will fight and can injure eachother quite significantly sometimes resulting in a fatality due to injury or stress.

3. Change water daily as they often defecate in the water bowl.

4. Western Hingbacks can be aggressive to eachother so a weekly check of limbs and heads for cuts is advisable.

5. Providing a humid hide is a good idea in the enclosure.

Personal experience:

Here's a few interestng things we have observed over the years. Females can be aggressive towards one another. They seldom bite eachother but we have seen ramming and chasing within our group.

Our male has five females to mate with but actively only mates with the same two. We believe these to be the most dominant females in the group. He has mated with the others in the past but only when the "top two" are out of sight.

In the past ours have been exposed to short dry periods. We find that during this they can go into a aestivation mode, digging down for a few days. They always come out themselves and return to normal instantly.


Sexing with adults is pretty straight forward with males having a much larger thicker tail and they have a obvious concave plastron. Females tails will be short and their plastrons will be flat. See pics.

Similar size male and female. Male on the left with long tail, female on the right with shorter tail.

Obvious concave plastron.

Some of our group.

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Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Sep 21, 2012
Location (City and/or State)
Watery Wiltshire in the UK
Doing well thanks. How are the hatchlings doing now? I remember you said they are aggressive at first towards each other, do you still have that problem?
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