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up-close shot of Malaysian painted river terrapin
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

  • We provide salaries, education and support from people in Sumatra saving painted terrapins.
  • 2,356 painted terrapin hatchlings and juvelines were released into rivers and estuaries in Indonesia.
  • 17 adult painted terrapins were rescued from illegal activity and released back into the wild, since 2018.
  • Partners in Indonesia cleaned up and removed 770 pounds of plastic debris from painted terrapin nesting areas.