RSS

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle

22 Oct

Hieremys annandalii

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii)

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle ill near canal in Lumpani

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii)

Frontal shot of Yellow-headed Temple Turtle

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii)

Head shot of Yellow-headed Temple Turtle

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii)

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle on shore in Chatuchak

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii)

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle in canal in Chatuchak

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle Hieremys annandalii

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle in decorative pond in Khlong Toei

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii) head shot

Head shot of Yellow-headed Temple Turtle in pond in Phra Khanong

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii) feeding

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle feeding on berries in lake in Chatuchak

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle Hieremys annandalii juvenile

Young Yellow-headed Temple Turtle in Cambodia (photo courtesy of Koulang Chey)

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii) juvenile

Juvenile Yellow-headed Temple Turtle in pond in Phra Khanong

English name: Yellow-headed Temple Turtle
Scientific name: Hieremys annandalii
Thai name: Tao Bung Hua Leong or Tao Wat

Description: Shell is up to 51cm long. One of the largest freshwater turtles in southeast Asia, sometimes weighing up to 12 kilograms. Young juveniles has a light keel going down the center of their shells, but the shells of adults are flattened on top. Shell coloration is dark grey to black above and yellow to pale orange below with black blotches. Head is large and gray to black with yellow speckling and yellow jaws.

Similar Species: Giant Asian Pond Turtle has orangish markings on the head instead of yellow and maintains the ridge on the center of its shell into adulthood.

Habitat: Found in swamps, ponds, canals, and slow-moving rivers. Will sometimes come on land to eat vegetation and fruit.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control aquatic vegetation. Also eats fruit and vegetation on land. Juvenile Yellow-headed Temple Turtles provide food for water monitors and some wading birds.

Danger to humans: Is not dangerous to humans.

Conservation status and threats: The Yellow-headed Temple Turtle is an endangered species. It is captured and traded for meat, Chinese medicine, and merit release. It also faces habitat loss. The Yellow-headed Temple Turtle is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List and is on CITES Appendix II.

Interesting facts: Yellow-headed Temple Turtles are much more common in Bangkok’s parks and ponds than they are in their native environment. These turtles’ large size makes them very susceptible to capture and exploitation by the illegal wildlife trade. When turtles like this are taken out of their native environment and sold into the pet trade or released back into temple ponds for “merit release”, it disrupts their wild ecosystem and takes away from the beauty of Thailand’s wild places. Please do what you can to protect Thailand’s wildlife by refusing to buy or sell our native turtles.

References:
ARKive: Yellow-headed Temple Turtle
IUCN Red List: Heosemys annandalii
Buddhist Merit-making Turtle Release Checklist
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
The Turtles of Thailand

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Pond Turtles, Turtles

 

One response to “Yellow-headed Temple Turtle

  1. Steve

    January 29, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I found a yellow head walking across a bisy road,and I know Thai eat these lovly turtles he is about 45cms long so am taking him to the big wat where I hope he can be safe.

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s