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Reptiles found in the Kruger – The pan hinged terrapin

By December 24, 2015No Comments
pan hinged terrapin
Pan hinged terrapin. 
Terrapins are reptiles from the order of Chelonians that also include both tortoises and turtles. Pan hinged terrapins are one of the five terrapin species found within the southern African region.

The bony and convex upper section of their shells are referred to as the ‘carapace’ while the flat and lower part of their shells are called the ‘plastron.’

The pan hinged terrapin is a small terrapin, reaching up to 180 mm in length, with a rounded, smooth shell and equipped with sharp claws. Their heads are large, their snouts blunted and their beaks flat. The carapace is a brown colour which often vary amongst others depending on age and wear.

Pan hinged terrapins live in eastern parts of southern Africa in areas of countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the islands of Seychelles and Madagascar. Within South Africa they are found in the Kruger National Park along the Upper Limpopo River.

They are water loving reptiles found in pans, marshes and slow-moving rivers. They enjoy basking on rock faces and floating close to the water surface.
Pan hinged terrapin.
Pan hinged terrapin. 

When feeling threatened terrapins will emit a foul smelling fluid from specific glands hopefully deterring predators.

These reptiles tuck their heads in sideways and withdraw their front legs before they close their hinged parts while tortoises pull their heads straight back into their shells.

Pan hinged terrapins have a taste for a carnivorous diet, feeding on water animals, small frogs and invertebrates, small birds and the carcasses of mammals.

Females nest throughout summer and incubate their eggs for between 104 to 107 days.  Young pan hinged terrapins are a mere 30 mm in length when hatched.
Did you know?

There are over 240 species of Chelonians.