Malaysian giant turtle

Orlitia borneensis

What you should know about the Malaysian giant turtle

The solitary living Malaysian giant turtle 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, red-footed tortoise and chelidae.


  • Origin

    Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra

  • Habitat

    Lakes and large rivers

  • Diet

    Fish, invertebrates, fruits, plant parts

  • Status


  • Size

    Carapace length approx. 80 cm

  • Weight

    up to approx. 20 kg

  • Breeding period

    Eggs are laid on land probably several times a year; around 10 hard-shelled eggs per clutch

  • Achievable age

    80 to 100 years

Threat Categories of IUCN

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 Malaysian giant 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.

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Opening hours

Today, 22. April
9:00 - 18:00
Last admission: 17:00
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Feedings & Trainings

  • Crocodile talk 11:00
  • Arapaimas & pacus 13:30
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