Added 19 April 2009.

Malayemys subtrijuga

Snail-Eating Turtle


A predominantly marsh-dwelling species, also found in canals, ricefields and sometimes slow-moving rivers. It feeds predominantly on freshwater snails but will also take mussels and shrimps, and in captivity may acclimatise to a certain portion of more usual turtle food such as beef heart and earthworms.

Müller recommended this species for very experienced keepers only in view of its passive nature and dietary needs.

Species Name Common Name Location Size Notes
M. subtrijuga (Malay) Snail-Eating Turtle [D: Malayen-Sumpfschildkröte, Malay: Jelebu siput] Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, S Vietnam, W Malaysia (Kedah and Perlis), Indonesia (Sumatra, Java) Up to 20cm. Exploited in its range for meat, also given to temple ponds in Thailand. Carapace: prominent vertebral and lateral keels. Plastron: large, with immovable bones. Other: head large, esp. in old females; feet clawed, toes fully webbed. Coloration: carapace chestnut brown; marginals lighter at the outer edges with dark edges, forming a pattern reminiscent of a cockchafer [Müller]. Plastron yellow with darker marks on some of the scutes. Head dark brown with yellow-white lateral and dorsolateral lines; streaks of same colour on neck; limbs dark brown with yellow edges. Reproduction: nesting season varies as to location. Clutch size is 3-6 eggs.  


Turtles of Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia, Lim Boo Liat and Indraneil Das, Natural History Publications (Borneo), 1999.

Schildkröten, Gerhard Müller, Eugen Ullmer, Stuttgart 1995.


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