Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Pelodiscus sinensis Wiegmann, 1835

Species:P. sinensis
Common Names:Chinese Softshell Turtle
Status:Exotic. Common.


The Chinese Softshell Turtle has a oval carapace without scutes. It is smooth and leathery in adults, while juveniles have rows of small bumps along the back. The plastron in adults is cream, grey or yellow with no patterns, while juveniles have pinkish-red plastrons with black blotches. The body is olive to greyish-green and are unpatterned in adults, with light spots and fine radiating black lines around the eyes in juveniles. It grows to 25 cm long.

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


This species is native to Russia, southern China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. It is introduced in Singapore, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, the Phillippines, Timor, Hawaii and the Bonin Islands.


Central Catchment Nature Reserve, MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Locality Map

General Biology

The Chinese Softshell Turtle inhabits freshwater habitats including ponds, marshes and rivers. It usually stays buried in the substrate to ambush its prey and is rarely seen basking.


It feeds on small invertebrates including mussels and insects.

Life Cycle

Oviparous; clutches comprise of 9–28 eggs and incubation takes about 40–80 days.

Human Uses

In Singapore, it is bred commercially for food as it has a fast growth rate, matures early, and regularly produce large clutches of eggs in tropical conditions. This species has been released into ponds and reservoirs around Singapore as religious merit-making offerings.

Other Resources

Uetz, P. (editor). The Reptile Database: Pelodiscus sinensis. http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Pelodiscus&species=sinensis. (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.

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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