The Asian Painted River Terrapin is also commonly named
Borneo Painted Deep River Turtle, Painted Batagur Terrapin,
Saw-jawed Turtle, Sungei Tuntong, and scientifically
Callagur borneoensis. They live in the mangrove swamps,
coastal rivers and estuaries of Southeast Asia, in Malaysia,
Thailand, Sumatra and Borneo, where they can be seen either
resting on submerged roots in the water with only their
heads showing, or basking on logs and floating vegetation.
The Painted Batagur Terrapin is a large grayish-brown turtle
with a keel (bony ridge) on the carapace (top shell) and
brown legs and tail. The shell has no hinge, and is broadly
oval. The front feet are completely webbed and have five
claws. They can live up to twenty-five years in the wild,
but as they and their eggs are prized food items in the
local area, most don't grow that old.
The Saw-jawed Turtle grows to a length of twenty to twenty-
eight inches (fifty to seventy cm) and a weight of up to
four pounds (two kg) and females are larger than the males.
The neck is not striped but is solid brown, and the pointed
gray head has a strongly upturned snout that looks similar
to a snorkel. The jaws are wide and strong with teeth-like
serrations for biting off vegetation.
During the breeding season the head of the males turn white
with a broad, black-edged red stripe between the eyes that
looks like someone daubed it with a paintbrush, hence the
common name Painted River Terrapin.
The females travel in large groups for long distances
downriver to lay their clutches of about twelve eggs at
night in the sandy river sandbars. Once the eggs hatch in
about seventy days, the gray hatchlings must travel back to
the tidal waters near the river mouths where they will live
for life, foraging along the riverbanks and creeks.
The Borneo Painted Deep River Turtle is primarily
herbivorous, and eats both water plants and the leaves and
fruit of the plants that grow along the shores of their
river habitats, and supplements its diet with crustaceans
and probably the odd amphibian or fish.
The is another critically endangered member of the Asian
Batagur genus, so hopefully if you decide on this species
you will get your turtle either from a turtle rescue or from
a captive breeder, rather than a pet store or a questionable