Borneo river turtles

(Orlitia borneensis)

The solitary living Borneo river turtles inhabit freshwater bodies in Malaysia, on Borneo and Sumatra. With a carapace length of 80 cm it is one of the biggest river turtles. They are among the highlights at Aquarium Berlin, in addition to the radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata), red-footed tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria) and chelidae (Chelodina siebenrockii).


Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra

Lakes and large rivers

Fish but also plants


Carapace length approx. 80 cm

Up to approx. 20 kg

Brooding time
Hatching of the animals approx. 100 days after egg deposition

Achievable age
80 to 100 years

What you should know about turtles
The poikilothermic reptiles form more than 320 turtle species with more than 200 subspecies – they are roughly divided into land, water and sea turtles. Turtles have lived on planet Earth for at least 200 million years and have even outlived the dinosaurs.

Reptiles with unique anatomy
Turtles do not have teeth, but powerful gums. But beware: Snapping turtles can even bite off smaller fingers, for example. You can classify turtles into cryptodira and pleurodira: When they first pull their head under the shell, the head is placed laterally under the shell with pleurodira. The shell, which is rather bony, always incidentally grows with the turtle.

The Borneo-river turtle – the almost unknown creature
Little is known about the behaviour, biology and reproduction of the Borneo river turtle. They still rarely breed in captivity and are kept in the event that success prevails. The hunting and poaching of Borneo river turtles for sale on Asian food markets also pose a threat to this critically endangered species, in addition to the destruction of its habitat.

Is it true, that ...?

... River turtles never forget their birthplace? Absolutely correct. All cheloniidae instinctively remember the place where they themselves once hatched and return there to do their own egg laying, just like being guided by an inner compass, they always go back there. Did you also know? The sex of the turtles even depends on the ambient temperature of the eggs.

These turtles also live in Aquarium Berlin

• New Guinea softshell turtle (Astrochelys insculpta)
• Red-bellied short-necked turtle (Emydura subglobosa australis)
• Yellow-spotted river turtle (Podocnemis unifilis)
• Hieroglyphic turtles (Pseudemys concinna)
• Red-belly turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans)
• Yellow-belly turtle (Trachemys scripta scripta)

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