Turtle (Giant Asian Pond) / Heosemys grandis

Did you know...

  • This turtle is kept in the pools and canals at Bangkok’s Tortoise Temple.
  • Buddhists believe saving a life (even a turtle’s) gains them favour in the afterlife.
  • Male giant Asian pond turtles can be distinguished from females by their thicker tails and the slightly inwards curve of their plastron

The giant Asian pond turtle is one of the largest hard-shelled, semi-aquatic Asian turtles, which inhabits standing water bodies such as ponds and lakes in freshwater swamp forest. It is often found basking in the shallows at the water’s edge. When out on land it lives in the shade and cover of vegetation only occasionally venturing out to bask in the sun.

Little else is known of the animal in the wild although it is reported that in the wild the giant Asian pond turtle feeds largely on aquatic plants (an herbivorous diet), but in captivity they have an omnivorous diet.

All the information we possess about reproduction in this species comes from observation of specimens in zoos and private collections.  Courtship is an aggressive event during which the male bites the neck of the female.  About a month after mating, the female lays a clutch of four to six eggs, which hatch after 100 days of incubation at 27 to 28° Celsius.

All Heosemys species are extensively traded and are being pushed towards extinction and in some areas the Giant pond turtle accounts for up to 14% of freshwater turtles. The giant pond turtle is exploited for subsistence food, for the international pet trade, and to satisfy the  increasing demand in China for food and medicine, where turtles are believed to have significant benefits for human health.