Female painted terrapins are much larger than males. Females can reach up to 60 cm (nearly 2 ft) and weigh up to 25kg (55 lbs). These large turtles have a hard shell that it relatively flat and smooth. In males, the shell is generally greenish in color, with three wide, dark longitudinal stripes; in females the shell is brown. Painted terrapins have a pointed snout and their jaws are finely serrated. The heads of males turn a striking bright red in the breeding season and the shell turns to a light shade of grey.
The painted terrapin lives in estuaries and mangroves and is tolerant of brackish (water with some salinity) water as an adult. They nest on beaches and may migrate long distances to share the same sites as marine turtles for egg deposition.
The painted terrapin occurs in greatly reduced numbers in Brunei, Indonesia (Kalimantan and remnant populations in Sumatra), Malaysia (East and West), and Thailand.
Unsustainable exploitation is the principal threat to the species for food and medicinal products. Harvest of eggs due to predictable nesting sites and times is an added and serious threat. Habitat loss and degradation from agricultural activities are also a significant threat, as is collection of small specimens for the pet trade.
SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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