Malayan Softshell Turtle: Learn About This Endangered Species and How to Help Its Survival

Introduction to Malayan Softshell Turtles

Malayan Softshell Turtles are one of the most unique and beautiful species of turtles in the world. They are found in Southeast Asia, primarily in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. These turtles have a unique look, with a soft, flexible shell and a long neck. They are also known for their vibrant colors and patterns.

What is a Malayan Softshell Turtle?

Malayan Softshell Turtles are a species of freshwater turtle native to Southeast Asia. They have a soft, flexible shell, which is usually a dark brown or black color. Their necks are long and slender, and they have a distinctive pattern of spots and stripes on their shells. They can grow up to 15 inches in length and can weigh up to 3 pounds.

Where is it Found?

Malayan Softshell Turtles are found in Southeast Asia, primarily in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. They prefer to live in slow-moving rivers and ponds, but they can also be found in lakes and marshes. They are also found in the wild in parts of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Key Facts Numbers
Scientific Name Dogania subplana
Average Length 10-15 inches
Average Weight 2-3 pounds
Lifespan 20-30 years
Habitat Freshwater ponds and streams
Range Southeast Asia

Physical Characteristics

What Does it Look Like?

The Malayan softshell turtle is a unique-looking species of freshwater turtle. It has a soft, leathery carapace that is usually brown or tan in color with spots and blotches. Additionally, the carapace has a smooth texture and an oval shape. The turtle’s head is small and pointed, with large eyes and a long snout. Its feet are webbed, making it an excellent swimmer.

What Color is it?

The Malayan softshell turtle’s coloration can vary. Its carapace is typically brown or tan, with spots and blotches of darker color on it. Its head and feet are usually a darker brown or black. Its underside is yellowish or cream in color.

What is its Size?

The Malayan softshell turtle can reach a large size. Adult males can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length and weigh up to 2 pounds. Females are slightly larger, reaching up to 14 inches (36 cm) in length and weighing up to 3 pounds.

My Private Notes: Experiencing Malayan Softshell Turtle

So, I recently had my first experience with Malayan softshell turtles and I must say, it was quite an adventure! As someone who had no previous experience with these magnificent creatures, I learned a few things along the way. Here are a few of my tips to help you get the most out of your experience:

  • Observe them: There’s no better way to enjoy the Malayan softshell turtles than to observe them in their natural environment. Try to find a spot where you can watch them go about their day. You’ll be amazed by their agility and grace.
  • Learn about them: If you’re going to be spending time with the turtles, it’s important to learn a bit about them beforehand. Get to know their habits and behaviors so you can better appreciate their beauty.
  • Handle them gently: When you do interact with the turtles, it’s important to be gentle. They may be tough-looking creatures, but they’re actually quite delicate. Handle them with care and respect.
  • Be safe: If you’re near the water where the turtles are located, safety should always be your top priority. Make sure that you’re wearing the right gear and following all appropriate safety procedures.

Overall, it’s been a fascinating journey getting to know the Malayan softshell turtles. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to experience them in the wild!


Malayan softshell turtles are native to Southeast Asia and are found in a wide range of habitats, from the lowland tropical rainforests of Thailand to the mangrove swamps of Bangladesh. They prefer slow-moving, shallow freshwater habitats, such as ponds, lakes, and slow-moving streams. They occasionally inhabit brackish habitats, but generally remain in fresh water.

What Type of Environment Does a Malayan Softshell Turtle Prefer?

Malayan softshell turtles prefer habitats with dense vegetation and slow-moving water, such as ponds and slow-moving streams. They need an environment that provides adequate cover, such as logs, rocks, and aquatic vegetation, so they can hide from predators. The water should be shallow enough that they can reach the surface to breath, but deep enough that they can submerge themselves to hide.

What Kind of Water Does it Like?

Malayan softshell turtles generally prefer freshwater habitats, however they are occasionally found in brackish water. To provide the best environment for a Malayan softshell turtle, the water should be clean and free of pollutants, and the pH should be slightly acidic (6.0 to 7.0). The water temperature should also be kept between 68 and 77°F (20 and 25°C), as these turtles are more sensitive to temperature changes than other turtles.


The Malayan softshell turtle is an omnivorous species and its diet consists of a variety of plants and animals, depending on the availability of food in its habitat. In the wild, they primarily feed on aquatic plants, insects, mollusks, and fish, but they are also known to feed on carrion, small mammals, and amphibians.

What Does a Malayan Softshell Turtle Eat?

The Malayan softshell turtle can eat a wide variety of foods. They mainly feed on aquatic plants, insects, mollusks, fish, and carrion. They are also known to feed on small mammals, amphibians, and other invertebrates. In captivity, they will often accept a variety of commercial turtle food, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.

How Does it Find its Food?

Malayan softshell turtles are opportunistic feeders and they can find food both in the water and on land. In the water, they use their sensitive snouts to locate prey, while on land they rely on their sense of smell to detect food sources. They are also known to ambush their prey, using their strong jaws to capture and consume their food.


The Malayan softshell turtle reproduces by laying eggs, similar to most other reptiles. The female turtle will lay her eggs in a nest that she digs in the sand. She will lay anywhere from 5 to 30 eggs at a time, depending on her size and the species of turtle.

How Does a Malayan Softshell Turtle Reproduce?

The Malayan softshell turtle reproduces by laying eggs. The female turtle will find a suitable nesting spot in the sand and lay her eggs there. The eggs will then hatch after a few months.

How Long is its Gestation Period?

The gestation period for a Malayan softshell turtle is usually around three to four months. During this time, the eggs will be incubating and the turtles will be developing inside of them.

How Long Does it Take for the Eggs to Hatch?

It takes about two to three months for the eggs to hatch. Once they have hatched, the baby turtles will be ready to start exploring their new environment.


The Malayan softshell turtle is listed as a least concern species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List. Its population is decreasing due to destruction of its natural habitats, over-collection for the pet trade, and over-harvesting for food.

What is the Status of Malayan Softshell Turtle Populations?

The Malayan softshell turtle population is rapidly declining, due to a variety of factors. These include destruction of its natural habitats, over-collection for the pet trade, and over-harvesting for food.

What is Being Done to Protect the Species?

Various conservation measures are being taken to protect the Malayan softshell turtle. These include efforts to protect and restore its natural habitats, as well as educational campaigns aimed at discouraging over-collection for the pet trade and over-harvesting for food. In addition, captive breeding programs are in place to provide a sustainable source of individuals for the pet trade.

  • Protection and restoration of natural habitats
  • Educational campaigns to discourage over-collection and over-harvesting
  • Captive breeding programs to provide a sustainable source of individuals for the pet trade


The Malayan Softshell Turtle is an impressive species that is found in Southeast Asia. It is an excellent swimmer and feeds mainly on mollusks, fish, and aquatic insects. Unfortunately, this species is facing many threats due to habitat destruction and overcollection for the pet trade. Conservation efforts are needed to ensure the survival of this species.

People Also Ask

What is the average life span of a Malayan Softshell Turtle?

The average life span of a Malayan Softshell Turtle is approximately 20 to 30 years.

Are Malayan Softshell Turtles endangered?

Yes, the Malayan Softshell Turtle is considered to be endangered. It is estimated that there are fewer than 500 mature individuals in the wild.

What kind of threats do Malayan Softshell Turtles face?

The Malayan Softshell Turtle is threatened by habitat destruction, pollution, and hunting for food and traditional medicine.

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