Callagur borneoensis

Common Name: Painted terrapin

Described by: Schlegel and Müller, 1844


Conservation Status: Critically Endangered: IUCN Red List 2006


CITES: Appendix II

Callagur borneoensis

Callagur range
Callagur range.
(John B. Iverson)

Range: Indonesia (Kalimantan and Sumatra) and Malaysia (Peninsula and Sarawak), Thailand in coastal areas on both sides of extreme southern peninsula; now much reduced, and probably extinct on the Gulf of Thailand side.

Habitat: Adults mainly live in estuaries, mangrove creeks and other areas influenced by tides. Dunson and Moll (1980) suggested that hatchlings can live for at least two weeks in 100% sea water. Apparently this allows them enough time to make the migration from their sea beach nests, some of which may be as far away as 3 km from the mouth of a river, to fresh water.

Key Threats: Hunting and trade. Accidental drowning in fishing nets, loss of nesting and river habitat and collection of eggs.


Clutch Size: About 15-20 (Liat & Das, 1999)
Egg description: Ellipsoidal in shape (68-76 x 36-44mm) with brittle shells
Nesting Season: Jan - Feb in Malaysia.
Nesting site: Nests on ocean beaches shared by green turtles.
Diet: Leaves, mangrove fruits, shoots and shellfish.
(Liat & Das, 1999)

Distinguishing Features: Slightly upturned snout. Carapace smooth, brown or gray, with three longitudinal lines. The oval carapace is somewhat flattened.

Size: Carapace to 60cm

Male/Female: Males have three black longitudinal stripes along the carapace. The carapace of females is brown to dark gray. Females have brown heads while males have gray or white heads (depending on breeding season), with an orange patch on the forehead.

Similar Species: Five claws on the front foot easily distinguishes females from the female mangrove terrapin Batagur baska. (Stuart et al., 2001)

Male head
Male head in breeding colors.
Carapace of a male
Carapace of a male.
Male and female Callagur
Male (bottom) and female (top) Callagur.
Plastron of a female
Plastron of a female.

This field guide was last updated in August 2006.
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