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The Houston Zoo is temporarily closed. Tickets will go back on sale when the Zoo opens on April 30.
All Animals

Malaysian Painted River Terrapin

This animal is ranked among the 25 most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles on earth. Throughout much of the year, their grey/brown coloring matches their swampy surroundings. When breeding season arrives, the males become quite colorful! Their shells will lighten to reveal bold black markings, and their grey heads turn pure white with a bright crimson red strip developing between the eyes.

Animal Facts

Scientific Name

Batagur borneoensis


Brunei Darussalam; Indonesia; Malaysia; Thailand

Location in the Zoo

Wortham World of Primates – look for them in the water and on the shore in the orangutan habitat.

Cool Animal Fact

This reptile has an upturned snout, which makes it easier for them to feed on vegetation floating on the surface of the water.

How We Help Save Them

  • Nest patrol protected 27 nests (443 eggs) from poaching and natural predator threats in the District of Aceh Tamiang.
  • 1,204 hatchlings released back into the wild to help painted terrapin population.
  • Training communities on group management and the development of educational tourism.