Platysternidae – Big-headed turtle

Heads so large that cannot even be withdrawn into the shells

Unique and ancient reptiles native to China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam’s lowland marshes and waterways. In their adult stages, these indeed big-headed turtles eat vegetation, mollusks, and in some instances, dead animals. Their distinctive yellow to brown, flattened triangular head with strong jaws and a large beak is distinguishable from other animals.

The big-headed turtle is becoming rare and, in some areas, even locally extinct over most of its natural habitat. Surveys in the last decade indicate that Hong Kong is this species’ only significant surviving wild site.