Animal Keeper

Animal Keeper Updates

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ANIMAL UPDATES
REPTILES

Big-Headed Turtle

Platysternon megacephalum

ON EXHIBIT:  Turtle Gallery in River Journey

Chinese Big-headed turtle

FUN FACTS
Despite their appearance, these turtles are not related to snapping turtles. They use their hooked beak and long tail to navigate the streams in which they live. Big-headed turtles cannot pull their head entirely into their shell.  As a result, the tops of their head are heavily armored.  This species is part of the Tennessee Aquarium’s Asian Turtle Breeding Program.

CONSERVATION
The Chinese big-headed turtle is endangered. Turtles and tortoises across Southeast Asia have undergone massive declines in recent years due to overexploitation for the Southern Asian, particularly Chinese, food markets.


Fan Photo

bigheadturtle_billhughes
Photo by Bill Hughes

About This Animal

SIZE: 7.2 in (18.4 cm)

RANGE: China; Laos; Myanmar; Thailand; Viet Nam

HABITAT: Cool, rocky mountain streams

DIET: Fish, invertebrates