What do they look like?
• They look like olive gray/brown turtles, specifically...
• webbed toes
• small to normal sized head
• upturned, pointed nose
• smooth/dark shell, and a
• light plastron (underneath the shell)
• They weigh about 44 lbs.
• Shell size is 2 feet!
Lighter head, neck, and legs
Bigger body size
Darker head, neck, and legs
Smaller body size
Gestation- 70-112 days in the egg.
There are about 1-3 clutches per season. Each clutch has
about 10-30 eggs.
The parents don’t stay with the young.
Where do they live?
• Sumatra, Thailand, Burma, and the
Malay Peninsula (Asia).
• The habitat is wet, sandy, and a rocky
• They are terrestrial and aquatic.
• They nest on sandy banks.
What do they eat?
• They are omnivores.
• Wild River Terrapins eat mangrove
fruit, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish.
• Zoo River Terrapins eat 50% dark
greens- endive, spinach, kale, ect.
• Commercial River Terrapins eat chow
and incidental chopped fish.
• This turtle is religiously significant to and is
caught by Burmese Buddhists who capture them,
decorate their carapace (hard upper-shell), and
release them into the wild with great ceremony.
• Although laws are being enacted to protect the
River Terrapin, the large eggs are commercially
valuable as food. Resulting in the animal being
included on the CITES 1 and the USDI (E) lists.
This means that the animal is endangered.
• They have 4 front toes, most other turtles have 5.
Physical Adaptations 1-5
• A shell, for camouflage to stay hidden from predators.
• A shell, for protection from predators and the sun.
• Webbed toes, for fast swimming, to escape predators
• Webbed toes, to push themselves across the sand.
• Smooth plastron, to slide across the sand (females).
The River Terrapin has:
Physical Adaptations 6-10
• Smooth shell, for fast swimming, to escape predators.
• Longer toes, for pushing and digging sand or pebbles to
find food and dig nests.
• Upturned nose, to stay hidden from a predator while
• Lays soft-shell eggs, so if one egg falls on top of another
they won’t crack.
• Hydrodynamic shape, for fast swimming to escape
Behavioral Adaptations 1-5
• Are less active if they want to hold their breath
• Dig in the sand to hide or find food.
• Sit in the sun to maintain their body
• Hold their breath to float in the water.
• Let air out to dive deeper in the water.
Improvements to the zoo
• I think that the River Terrapin’s habitat can
be improved in these ways :
1. They should include more spots of light, so
the River Terrapin can maintain it’s body
2. They should make the land portion of the
exhibit bigger because the River Terrapin is
aquatic AND terrestrial. Also they need a
bigger area to nest.
• 3. In the exhibit they should make the water
section bigger, because the River Terrapin has
many physical features (webbed toes, smooth
shell, hydrodynamic shape) that help it swim
fast. You need a bigger space to swim fast.
• 4. In the exhibit, they should add a spot just
made of sand because the River Terrapin has
a smooth plastron (under the shell) for sliding
across the sand, if it is rocky they can’t slide.
• 5. In the exhibit they should also add a
spot just made up with sand so the
River Terrapin can dig for hunting,
hiding, and nesting.