Fig. 1. Disarticulated skeletal remains of a Pig-nosed Turtle in the water of the quarry lake.
Fig. 2. Skeletal elements of the Pig-nosed Turtle brought onto land.
Fig. 3. Lateral view of the turtle’s cranium with snout pointing to the left.
Photographs by Ivan W.M. Kwan

Skeletal remains of a Pig-nosed Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) in Tampines Quarry

Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Tampines Quarry; 20 July 2014; 2000 hrs.

Observation: The disarticulated skeleton of a pig-nosed turtle, comprising the skull (without the mandible), fragments of the carapace, and a few limb bones, was found submerged among rocks in the shallow edge of the lake.

Remarks: The cranium, about 8 cm in length, was recovered and will be deposited in the Zoological Reference Collection (ZRC) of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore.

The Pig-nosed Turtle is native to inland waterways of southern New Guinea and the Northern Territory in Australia (Burgess & Lilly, 2014). This species was illegally imported in large numbers and widely available in pet shops in Singapore up until the early 2000s (Goh & O’Riordan, 2007). Free-ranging examples in Singapore are most likely abandoned pets. Ng & Lim (2010) recorded a carcass at MacRitchie Reservoir, and the contributor has observed one in the Eco-Lake at the Singapore Botanic Gardens in October 2013.

References:

  • Burgess, E. A. & R. Lilly, 2014. Assessing the Trade in Pig-nosed Turtles Carettochelys insculpta in Papua, Indonesia. TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. 40 pp.
  • Goh T. Y. & R. M. O’Riordan, 2007. Are tortoises and freshwater turtles still traded illegally as pets in Singapore? Oryx. 41 (1): 97–100.
  • Ng T. H. & K. K. P. Lim, 2010. Introduced aquatic herpetofauna of Singapore’s reservoirs. COSMOS. 6 (1): 117–127.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015: 95-96

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