The Painted Terrapin
Painted Terrapin is a species of turtle found in Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
The difference between a turtle and a terrapin is that turtles can only live in freshwater while a terrapin can live in both freshwater and brackish water (half-salt and half-fresh).
Turtles live most of their lives under water, they rarely leave the ocean except when the female comes up to shore to lay their eggs. However, terrapins live in ponds, lakes, marshes, swamps and rivers. They swim and also climb onto logs or rocks to bask in the sun. Water lilies, duckweed, arrow plants, moss, logs and rocks are commonly found in a terrapin’s habitat. Their diet is mainly fruits and riverside plants.
During the breeding season, the head of the male turns white and he develops a red stripe between the eyes, which gives him a painted look. The neck of the terrapin is soft but has a bark-like texture. The neck can elongate or shorten to withdraw its head back into its shell. The shell is smooth and hard but it has rock-like features to blend itself with its surroundings. The feet are webbed and have claws that would help them climb onto logs. They swim with its right forehand and left feet in coordination and its left forehand and right feet in coordination.
Painted terrapins were once common throughout the region, but are now rare as a result of overharvesting of their eggs for food, dam building and loss of nesting habitat. They are now critically endangered animals.
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