Chinese pointed earth turtle

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Chinese pointed earth turtle
Stavenn Geoemyda spengleri.jpg

Chinese pointed earth turtle ( Geoemyda spengleri )

Order : Turtles (Testudinata)
Subordination : Halsberger tortoises (Cryptodira)
Family : Old World pond turtles (Geoemydidae)
Subfamily : Geoemydinae
Genre : Pointed earth turtles ( Geoemyda )
Type : Chinese pointed earth turtle
Scientific name
Geoemyda spengleri
( Gmelin , 1789)

The Chinese pointed earth turtle ( Geoemyda spengleri ) belongs to the group of pointed earth turtles ( Geoemyda ).


The turtle is 10 to 14 cm long and has a serrated carapace (back armor), this resembles a leaf, so it is well camouflaged in its natural environment. The carapace is yellow to orange, while the plastron (belly armor) is darker. The skin of the animals is brown, the females have yellow stripes in the neck region. The Geoemyda spengleri is the most common in the terrarium held species of the genus of Pip tortoises . The males reach a weight of approx. 110 grams, the females up to 280 grams.


Distribution of the Chinese pointed turtle in the rough

The natural occurrence of the Chinese pointed turtle extends from the Chinese provinces of Hunan , Guangdong , Guangxi and Hainan to Vietnam and Laos . It colonizes moist forest regions.


The Chinese pointed turtle is diurnal. It often buries itself in the ground. There she often finds food (worms, insects). Grouped turtles are by far not as active as other pond turtles, they almost tend to be apathetic and often sit motionless for hours in one place, waiting for prey .

Diet and hunting behavior

The Chinese pointed turtle is carnivorous , but rarely eats vegetable food. The food spectrum includes snails , crickets , worms , woodlice , baby mice , beetles and their larvae, spiders , carrion and windfalls. The water uptake takes place in puddles, in which the pointed turtle also excretes its excrement.

The Chinese pointed turtle has a particularly strong sense of sight. This turtle is able to move both eyes independently. The accommodation of both eyes can also take place independently of one another. The density of the nerve cells in the retina is very broadly distributed in this turtle, so a very large field of vision can be perceived. The eyes of the Chinese pointed turtle can accommodate particularly strongly, so that prey animals that are directly in front of the field of vision can also be perceived very sharply. The accommodation happens at an enormous speed. The refractive power of the eyes increases sharply from top to bottom. Thus, the turtle is able to focus on distant objects (with the upper part of the eye) and very close objects (with the lower part of the eye) at the same time. These extraordinary features of the eyes help the Chinese pointed turtle hunt. This turtle often goes to higher points in the area to look for prey.

The Chinese pointed turtle's sense of smell is also well developed, which contributes to successful hunting.


Mating occurs after hibernation . The males court the females with their necks stretched out. When the female is ready to mate, she nods her head. The male reciprocates this movement. The male climbs onto the female's back and clings to the female's legs. This leads to copulation.

The first clutch occurs in the spring, and there are usually two more clutches every month. A clutch usually consists of between one and three eggs. Often the females take care of the brood and stay on the eggs embedded in the ground. After 2 to 3 months (probably depending on the temperature) the young hatch.


The species is kept as a terrarium inhabitant in many countries. However, their range is relatively small and their occurrence is rare. Therefore, the black-breasted leaf turtle from being IUCN as endangered ( endangered ) classified.


The Chinese pointed turtle was described by Johann Friedrich Gmelin as Testudo spengleri in 1789 . The species name honors the naturalist Lorenz Spengler (1720–1807), director of the Royal Chamber of Art in Copenhagen . The genus Geoemyda was established by Gray in 1834, the Chinese pointed turtle is the type species . The genus currently only contains the Japanese native Geoemyda japonica as a further species. This was originally described by Fan in 1931 as a subspecies of the Chinese pointed turtle.

Individual evidence

  1. Bryan L. Stuart, Chris D. Hallam, Sengphachanh Sayavong, Chanthalaphone Nanthavong, Sengmany Sayaleng, Outhai Vongsa, & William G. Robichaud: Two Additions to the Turtle Fauna of Laos . Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 10, 1, pp. 113-116, 2011
  2. ^ Asian Turtle Trade Working Group 2000: Geoemyda spengleri . In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. Retrieved September 2, 2013
  3. Bo Beolens, Michael Watkins & Michael Grayson: The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, September 2011 ISBN 1-4214-0135-5
  4. Uwe Fritz & Peter Havas: Checklist of Chelonians of the World . Vertebrate Zoology, 57, 2, pp. 149–368, Museum für Tierkunde Dresden, October 2007, p. 222


  • Ingo Schaefer: Pointed Terrapins . Natur und Tier-Verlag, Münster 2005 ISBN 3-937285-50-4

Web links

Commons : Chinese Pointed Earth Turtle ( Geoemyda spengleri )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files