It was a long, tiring first day, but the Festival of Biodiversity continues on Sunday! Find out why the young Spiny Hill Terrapin (Heosemys spinosa) has such a bizarre-looking shell, and more weird and wonderful stories about Singapore’s natural heritage. We’ll be at the Eco Lake Lawn from 9am to 7pm. See you there!
Fig. 1. Juvenile Spiny Terrapin of about 8 cm carapace length was found dead on its back, and covered with flies.
Fig. 2. The carcass was found in the middle of a tyre track, making it look like the juvenile Spiny Terrapin had been accidentally run over and killed by a vehicle.
(Photographs by Kelvin K. P. Lim)
Dead juvenile Spiny Terrapin (Heosemys spinosa) at Sime forest.
Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Sime forest, Sime Track; 15 May 2004; 1625 hrs
Observation: A juvenile example of about 8 cm carapace length was found dead on its back, and covered with flies on the dirt trail in the middle of a tyre track.
Remarks: The Spiny Terrapin is an uncommon native turtle that in Singapore, seems to be confined to the Central Nature Reserves. The carapace of young turtles has very distinct spiky edges (Baker & Lim, 2012: 123). As it was found in the middle of a tyre track, the dead juvenile featured here looks like it may have accidentally been run over and killed by a vehicle. However, this did not seem likely as the animal was not crushed or embedded in the substrate.
Baker, N. & K. K. P. Lim, 2012. Wild Animals of Singapore. A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Updated edition. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte. Ltd. and Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.