Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Heosemys spinosa (Gray, 1831)

Species:H. spinosa
Common Names:Spiny Terrapin, Spiny Hill Terrapin


The Spiny Hill Terrapin has an oval carapace with a flat top. There are five vertebral scutes with a light brown ridge running through the middle along the back. In juveniles, the margin of the carapace has distinct spikes, whereas in adults, only the rear margin is serrated. The head and limbs are dark grey. It grows to a total length of 22 cm.

Read more about the Testudines order.
Read more about the Geoemydidae family.


Southern Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Pulau Bangka, Pulau Natuna, the Batu Archipelago, Borneo, Sulu Archipelago and Tawi-Tawi (the Phillippines).


Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Locality Map

General Biology

It inhabits mature tropical forests. Juveniles tend to be more aquatic whereas the adults spend more time on land. It is usually found among the forest litter, emerging occasionally in the morning to feed.


It feeds mainly on fallen fruit, foliage, and fungi.

Life Cycle

Oviparous; clutches comprise of about three elongated hard-shelled eggs.

Other Resources

Ecology Asia. 2012. Spiny Terrapin. http://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/turtles/spiny_terrapin.htm. (Accessed September 2012).

Uetz, P. (editor). The Reptile Database: Heosemys spinosa. http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Heosemys&species=spinosa. (Accessed September 2012).


Baker, N. & K.K.P. Lim, 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore. A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd and Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.

Chua, M.A.H. & K.K.P. Lim, 2011. Terrapins. Pp. 479. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Cox, M. J., P.P. Van Dijk, J. Nabhitabhata & K. Thirakhupt, 2010. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. New Holland (Publishers) Ltd. 144 pp.

Das, I., 2010. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. 376 pp.

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