Side-Necked Turtle

Helmeted Turtle (Pelomedusa subrufa)
Charlotte Kirchner, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons


by Inspector Barry Mins on July 5, 2022

Hey kids, welcome back to our series on the mysteries of created kinds.

This week, we are heading to Africa looking for a small group of turtles.

Two by Tuesday

The turtles in this group are small, staying largely under a foot in length. One species does not have the typical hinged plastron (bottom shell), which allows most turtles to retract their head and limbs into their shell and seal it. Instead, this species tucks its head sideways into its shell. Most species are carnivorous or omnivorous, with the diet consisting mainly of fish, tadpoles, and invertebrates.1 Their preferred habitat tends to be still or slow-moving water. Little is known of their mating or reproduction, though the number of eggs laid can be anywhere from a handful to several dozen.

Has anyone figured it out yet? I won’t blame anyone if they have not figured it out. There was so little data for this week’s kind, I seriously considered skipping them. But then, I like turtles—so I had to give it a try. This week’s kind is the Pelomedusidae—the African side-necked turtle kind.

Try out this fun crossword puzzle!


Here is your clue for next week:

We head to Tanzania next week, looking for a very elusive toad. Don’t expect a long article next time: only four of these toads have ever been seen.

Ask a Question

Have you ever had a question about created kinds but didn’t know who to ask? Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite kind? Well, now you can! You can ask me, Inspector Barry Mins, a question! Have your parents help you fill out this form, and you might get your question answered in my column! If you have any questions about created kinds, feel free to send them my way!


  1. L. Luiselli, G. C. Akani, N. Ebere, L. Rugiero, L. Vignoli, F. M. Angelici, E. A. Eniang, and M. Behangana. “Food habits of a Pelomedusid turtle, Pelomedusa subrufa in Tropical Africa (Nigeria): the effects of sex, body size, season, and site.” Chelonian Conservation and Biology 10, no. 1 (2011): 138–144.