Thai National Parks

Due to COVID-19 outbreak, all national parks, wildlife sactuaries and other protected forest areas in Thailand are closed from 25th March until further notice. Some popular tourist destinations like Similan Islands, Surin Islands are within national parks, they too are closed. We will announce from here when the parks reopen.

Reptiles of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Spiny turtle

Thai: เต่าจักร, dtao jag

Binomial name: Heosemys spinosa, John Edward Gray, 1830

The spiny turtle (Heosemys spinosa) inhabits lowland and hill rainforest, usually in the vicinity of small streams, mainly in hill areas up to 900 m above sea level.


The origin of its common and specific name is immediately apparent from the sharp, pointed, spiky-edged carapace, and spiny keel, of this unique turtle, also known as the ‘cog-wheel turtle'.


The spiny turtle is known from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.


Mating behaviour appears to be triggered by rain; in captivity, spraying males with water results in them chasing females and attempting to mount. Nothing is known of nesting behaviour in the wild. One, two, or rarely three eggs are laid per clutch; in captivity, laying usually occurs in the night or early morning. Females produce up to three clutches per year. A plastron hinge develops to ease laying. Three captive incubations have succeeded, with durations of 106, 110, and 145 days.

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Scientific classification

Heosemys spinosa

Common names

  • German: Stachelrandschildkröte
  • English: Spiny turtle
  • Thai: เต่าจักร, dtao jag


  • Heosemys spinosa, Turtle Taxonomy Working Group (TTWG) (2014)
  • Heosemys spinosa, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Heosemys spinosa, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
  • Heosemys spinosa, Leonhard Hess Stejneger (1902)
  • Geoemyda spinosa, John Edward Gray (1873)
  • Clemmys (Clemmys) spinosa, Leopold Fitzinger (1835)
  • Emys spinosa, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron (1835)
  • Geoemyda spinosa, John Edward Gray (1834)
  • Emys spinosa, John Edward Gray (1831)
  • Emys spinosae, John Edward Gray (1830)

Conservation status

Endangered (IUCN2.3)

Endangered (IUCN2.3)

Distribution map of Spiny turtle, Heosemys spinosa in Thailand

Range map of Heosemys spinosa in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

It is free to use this map on various media. See the creative common license terms by clicking "CC" icon below the map. But remember, again; the map may not be accurate or complete.

Contribute or get help with ID

Please help us improving our species range maps. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. No problem if you do not know the species, we will do our best to identify it for you.

For the location, please provide the district name or the national park/ wildlife sanctuary name.

Please post your images to our Thai Biodiversity Survey & Species ID group on Facebook.