Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Spiny turtle

Heosemys spinosa, John Edward Gray, 1830

(In Thai: เต่าจักร, dtao jag)

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)
  • Emys spinosa, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron (1835)
  • Clemmys (Clemmys) spinosa, Leopold Fitzinger (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)


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Heosemys spinosa - Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
Heosemys spinosa - Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary

Range Map

Distribution map of Spiny turtle, Heosemys spinosa in Thailand
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kathu District, Phuket
  • Khao Luang
  • Khao Nam Khang National Park
  • Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Thalang District, Phuket
Range map of Heosemys spinosa in Thailand