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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Red-eared Terrapin
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family : EMYDIDAE
Species : Trachemys scripta elegans
Maximum Carapace Length : 28 cm

Originating from the U.S., the Red-eared Terrapin has been introduced into many waterbodies in Southeast Asia, particularly in temple ponds, public parks and reservoirs. Such releases are either made by bored pet owners who want to rid themselves of their terrapins, or are Buddhists making 'merit'.

The shells of juveniles are bright green, and this darkens with age. The face shows a distinctive arrangement of pale yellow stripes, and red markings behind the ear.

During the day groups of these terrapins can be seen sunning themselves on rocks or fallen logs.

The species is well established around urban areas, and is likely to spread to other habitats in future; there is a danger that this introduced species could displace native species.


Fig 1 : Fully-grown adult at Macritchie Reservoir, Singapore.

Fig 2 : A smaller male courts a female by stroking her face with his claws.

Fig 3 : This species climbs onto fallen logs to warm itself in the hot sun.


References : H1