Malaysian Painted Terrapin

Malaysian Painted Terrapin/Turtle Batagur borneoensis

Type of Animal:

Rivers, estuaries & mangrove swamps. Females use sandy beaches to lay eggs.

Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, Brunei, & peninsular Thailand

Breeding males usually have blue head w/ some red, non-breeding males have charcoal grey head, females have olive head, both sexes have flattened light-brown/grayish/blackish/olive oval carapace. Males shorter than females w/ longer, thicker tails. Projecting snout prominent.

Leaves, seeds, fruit

Status in Wild:
Critically Endangered

Breeding from zoos, aquariums, & private breeders

Usually found in small groups. Females will form larger groups when nesting.

Additional Info:


Male-3.75 lbs
Female-33-66 lbs
Young-2.08-2.88 oz

2-3 months

Body Length:
Male-1.3-1.8 ft
Female-3.5-4 ft
Young-2.76-3.96 in

Life Span: 
25-40 years

Tail Length:
Male-1 ft
Female-0.5 ft

Main predators of adults are monitor lizards, crocodiles, pythons, & tigers. Hatchlings preyed on by birds, large fish, & crabs.

Critically endangered due to egg harvesting, poaching for meat, water pollution, climate change, pet trade, habitat loss, sand mining, & beachfront development.

Only one or two river habitats have more than 100 nesting females.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has helped preserve the highly valuable Setiu Wetlands in Malaysia, a very important stronghold for this species.

Females usually lay 10-12 eggs, sometimes up to 20 eggs, per clutch.

Egg harvesting may only be carried out by licensed collectors who then sell 70% of their haul to Malayan Fisheries Department to be incubated.

Unfortunately, turtle eggs are 5 times as expensive as chicken eggs thus being in high demand.

Nesting season usually lasts from June-August & from October-January.

Setiu River Terrapin Research and Conservation Program in Malaysia works very hard to help save these turtles.

Due to egg collection, fewer & fewer females returning to nest.

There is still a lot more to be learned about these rare turtles.

Fun Fact(s):
Hatchlings can live up to 2 weeks at sea but prefer freshwater habitats.

These turtles are very docile but shy in captivity.

They love to bask in the sun.

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