Big head turtle

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Big head turtle
鹰嘴 龟 .jpeg

Big-headed turtle ( Platysternon megacephalum )

without rank: Sauropsida
Order : Turtles (Testudinata)
Subordination : Halsberger tortoises (Cryptodira)
Family : Big head turtles
Genre : Platysternon
Type : Big head turtle
Scientific name of the  family
JE Gray , 1831
Scientific name of the  genus
JE Gray, 1831
Scientific name of the  species
Platysternon megacephalum
JE Gray, 1831
Platysternon megacephalum

The great-headed turtle ( Platysternon megacephalum ) is the only species in the family of the great-headed turtle (Platysternidae).


Big-headed tortoises reach a body length of about 20 centimeters, have a relatively large head, which they cannot completely retract into the shell like other turtles , and a long tail, which they cannot pull completely into the shell either. For their protection they have large horn scales in these places. Since they cannot retract their head, large-headed turtles do not behave passively towards enemies, but attack and try to drive away the enemy with bites.

Distribution and way of life

The distribution area of ​​the nocturnal big head turtle is in southern China , Burma , Thailand and Vietnam . There it lives on and in cool mountain streams and feeds on snails , crabs and fish . It cracks open the hard shells of prey with its strong jaws. Since she is not a good swimmer, she runs along the bottom of the water or climbs trees and bushes. The clutch, which consists of two eggs, is placed in a hollow. The low number of eggs can be explained by the fact that the big-headed turtle has few enemies. After laying the eggs, the female smooths the earth over the nest. The young animals have to dig themselves up after hatching.


  • P. m. megacephalum
  • P. m. peguense
  • P. m. shiui


  • Ronald Orenstein, George R. Zug, Jeanne A. Mortimer: Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins: Survivors in Armor. 2001, ISBN 1-55209-605-X . (English)
  • Manfred Rogner: Tortoises - biology, keeping, reproduction. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5440-1 .

Web links

Commons : Big-headed turtle ( Platysternon megacephalum )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files