Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Malayan Giant Terrapin
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2
 

Fig 3
 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family : GEOEMYDIDAE
Species : Orlitia borneensis
Maximum carapace length : 80 cm

The Malayan Giant Terrapin (or Giant Black River Turtle / Bornean River Turtle) is the largest freshwater turtle in Southeast Asia. It is semi-aquatic, inhabiting large lakes, swamps and slow-flowing rivers.

The smooth, oval carapace is blackish or dark brown, and the plastron is pale yellowish brown to off white. In adults the carapace is flatter and smooth-edged, but in juveniles is more domed and serrated posteriorly.  The webbed feet are large and paddle-like, and the claws long and thick.

It is believed to be omnivorous, probably feeding on fallen fruits and other plant matter, as well as fish and other available vertebrates. 

This uncommon to rare species occurs in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. Introduced specimens may occasionally be found in Singapore's reservoirs and feeder streams.


Figs 1 to 3 : A full grown Malayan Giant Terrapin in a silty forest stream.  Singapore.


References : H3