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Golden Thread Turtle Facts

The Golden Thread Turtle is also known as the Chinese Stripe Necked Turtle, and is an endangered species in the wild.

Even though they are endangered you can purchase them from captive bred breeders.

They are named after their appearance as they have stripes down their shell and on their face. The biggest things to consider before getting a Golden Thread Turtle is their lifespan and their care.

They rarely grow bigger than 12 inches, the males range between 6-8 inches while females range between 10 and 12 inches.

They are easily housed in an aquatic tank that has been adapted to their needs, and they eat a straightforward diet of predominantly fruits and vegetables, as well as insects and worms.

Golden Thread Turtle Facts

  • Scientific Name: Mauremys sinensis
  • Alternate Name: Chinese stripe-necked turtle
  • Family: Geoemydidae
  • Male Size: 6 to 8 inches
  • Female size: 10 to 12 inches
  • Diet: (omnivore, herbivore, etc)
  • Lifespan: up to 60 years

Some interesting facts about them are as already mentioned, they are endangered. This makes conservation a priority for them as we want them to repopulate to become stable again.

Size wise, females are larger than the males overall by a few inches similar to the yellow bellied turtles.

One way to tell the gender of them is by checking their tails. Males will have thicker tails than females.

Like most turtles and tortoise species, they can be prone to obesity as they are known to eat food that is placed in front of them. If you have one as a pet it is very important that you abide by a feeding schedule.

They are typically found in low altitude waters and their natural habitat is found in China, Vietnam, Laos and Taiwan.

What do Golden Thread turtles look like?

Chinese stripe-necked turtle
Chineste stripe-necked turtle facing camera on white background with legs out and claws showing. It is also known as the golden thread turtle

Females are generally bigger than males. Their shells have stripes going down horizontally and down their necks and shoulders, which are a darker green than their bodies.

Sometimes these stripes appear brown or close to black. They also have a pattern on the underside of their bellies which are mostly yellow in color, and the pattern varies between each turtle. On average the pattern is circular or in a swirling manner.

Their tails are longer than the average turtle, and their shells are deeper compared to other turtle species. The shell is either flat or deep and can be olive green, brown or yellow – this can vary between each turtle.

Young Golden Thread Turtles have a different colouration in their shells and body – they typically have a shade of grey within their shells alongside some green.

When they are first born, they are barely an inch big and can quickly grow to 5 inches within their first year of life.

Once they become juvenile turtles they will grow on average about an inch a year, and are considered to have reached sexual maturity when males have reached 5 inches and females have reached 7 inches big.

Although males tend to be smaller in size at 6-8 inches they thicker tails. Females grow to between 10 – 12 inches big. This makes it easy to distinguish between male and females.

What do Golden Thread Turtles eat?

Golden thread turtle on its back
Golden thread turtle on its back looking at the camera.

Although they eat mostly fruits and vegetables, Golden Thread Turtles are omnivorous and can eat meat as well. Baby and juvenile Golden Thread Turtles primarily eat a carnivorous diet of worms and insects.

Once they reach adulthood, Chinese stripe-neck turtles prefer a diet focused on greens, but it is best to give them a balanced diet including insects.

They can also thrive on a pellet based diet in captivity as long as their owner ensures that all their needs are met. On average, an adult’s diet should consist of 30-40% protein while the rest of their diet should be made of a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Pellets are easy to purchase and provide to your turtle as well. Extra treats that your turtle will enjoy are fruits such as strawberries, plums and grapes and you can leave vegetables such as lettuce or sweet potatoes for your turtle to snack on when they get hungry.

You should however monitor how much they eat to avoid your turtle becoming overweight or obese.

They are not picky eaters and so it will not be difficult to feed them. They are active eaters and can be prone to obesity, so it is best to monitor their eating habits and not provide too much food.

They do require a high calcium diet with a range of minerals and vitamins in order to thrive.

How Do Golden Thread Turtles Behave?

Golden thread turtle in its shell
Golden thread turtle in its shell on white background.

Typically they are very docile creatures, and may be shy at first. They will become more comfortable with human interaction as you feed them, and regularly socialize with them.

They will begin to associate you with food and may swim towards you expecting food when they see you.

They are ideal pets to own for beginner pet owners as they are easy to care for and are docile. They are active during the day and it is best to interact with them then as they will be more receptive to socialisation then.

You can keep multiple turtles in the same enclosure bearing in mind the size of the enclosure needs to be the size of the biggest turtles multiplied by 10 – for example a 12 inch turtle would need approximately 120 gallon tank and for every additional turtle the tank should be increased by half of their size multiple by 10. This would mean that two 5 inch turtles would require a 75 gallon tank.

Check out our turtle tank setup guide for more on tank sizes related to turtle size.

To ensure that multiple turtles live peacefully and happily in their enclosure, the largest turtle should not be more than half the size of the smallest one.

During winter, Golden Thread Turtles may hibernate. It is advised that you avoid this by ensuring the temperature remains constant in their enclosure.

You should aim to keep the temperature between 23 degrees celsius/75 degrees fahrenheit and 26 degrees celsius/80 degrees fahrenheit.

Typically a turtle only needs to brumate (hibernate) if you are planning to breed it. You can read more about water turtle hibernation here and breeding turtles here.

Common health issues in Golden Thread Turtles

Golden Thread Turtle (Chinese stripe-necked turtle)
Wide angle shot of a Golden Thread Turtle (Chinese stripe-necked turtle) on a white background.

As with any pet, Golden Thread Turtles will require care in order to avoid common health issues. The most common is metabolic bone disease, and parasites. Generally health issues are stemmed from lack of nutrients in their diets.

Metabolic bone disease is very common among reptiles, which is a lack of calcium and phosphorus in their bodies. They begin to absorb calcium from their shells which can cause deformed shells and limbs, general weakness in their bones and fatigue.

It’s vital that you ensure your turtle has been and continues to eat a balanced diet. Symptoms are typically bowed legs, limping, any hard lumps along their limbs, jaw or shell, decreased appetite or an unusually flexible lower jaw.

Internal parasites are common among wild caught turtles and they often occur after Golden Thread Turtles have been caught in the wild and transported as their immune system can weaken in this process and when they are exposed to foreign enviroments. This is another reason why it’s best to purchase a captive bred turtle.

Diseases are easy to prevent as long as you provide a nutritious and balanced diet and regularly check your turtles. Regular vet visits are recommended as well.

How do Golden Thread Turtles Breed

Breeding between males and females is relatively easy as you can quickly tell apart males and females of the same age.

A male will court females underwater, and reproductive seasons are typically during fall and spring however they can reproduce all year round – especially in captivity.


If you are looking for one as a pet you need to find a captive bred breeder. Taking a turtle or any animal from the wild is never a good idea as it can affect the ecosystem and the animal just wont be happy.

Also, the Golden Thread Turtle is an endangered species so conservation is super important in this case. Make sure to check your local turtle laws as well.

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