Black Pond Marsh Turtle (Siebenrockiella Crassicollis)
IUCN: Red List: Vulnerable
Endemic to Southeast Asia, the Black Marsh Turtle is petite in size when compared to their larger relatives and distinguished by their largely black appearance which envelopes its shell & skin. Alternatively known as the “Smiling Terrapin” due to the nature of its facial structure, this turtle is carnivorous & spends its time foraging in the shallow streams where it hunts.
These largely aquatic turtles are native to freshwater habitats throughout Southeast Asia including Burma, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore. They can be found in slow moving or stagnant bodies of water where they typically feast on available wildlife including fish, frogs, snails, worms & carrion.
Black marsh turtles are primarily solitary nocturnal creatures that shy away from the first signs of danger. Timid & weary, they are able to secrete a foul smelling musk from their cloaca which wards off potential predators in their environment. Most of the food is caught and ingested also underwater, although at night it can venture into land to feed or mate.
- Black marsh turtles are predominantly carnivorous and prefer to feed underwater. They prey on insects, worms, molluscs, amphibians, crustaceans, and small fish, though they will occasionally scavenge rotting plants, fruits, or carcasses of larger animals that fall into the water.
- Juveniles are typically more carnivorous than adults
- Black marsh turtles are shy creatures. Mostly aquatic and nocturnal, they will sometimes come out to land at night to forage or mate, and occasionally during the day to bask. Majority of the time they prefer to stay underwater, partially buried in mud in shallow water or swimming near the bottom in deeper still waters
- When threatened, black marsh turtles excrete a foul-smelling secretion from their cloaca to ward off would-be predators. Their powerful jaws are also capable of inflicting wounds if handled roughly.
- Black marsh turtles reach sexual maturity at five years. Nesting season occurs in the summer, between April and the end of June. In courtship, males will bob their heads up and down while chasing a female. It may bite the legs of the females several times before mating. Females will lay three or four clutches. Each clutch consisting usually of one or rarely two relatively large eggs, around 5 by 3 cm (2.0 by 1.2 in) and weighing 30 g (0.066 lb). The eggs are incubated for 68 to 84 days before hatching. The hatchlings are relatively large, measuring around 5 cm (2.0 in).
- Black marsh turtles are culturally important to Buddhism. In Thailand, large numbers of black marsh turtles, along with the yellow-headed temple turtles (Heosemys annandalii) are released into temple and castle ponds and cared for by Buddhist monks. They are treated as sacred by the public, being believed to contain the souls of people who died while trying to rescue other people from drowning.
Fish & Carrion
|Size:||Up to 20cm|
|Weight:||Up to 2kg|
|Lifespan:||Up to 20years|