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The Zoo holds 2 pig-nosed turtles, one of which will be found on display in the Reptile House
Meatball: Male, arrived at the Zoo on December 11, 1971. He hatched in the wild, so we don't actually know how old he is.
The second turtle was received from the Bronx Zoo on September 27, 2001. We do not know the sex or age of this turtle, who was part of an illegal importation confiscated by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and turned over to the Bronx Zoo for care before coming to Philadelphia.
Look for the pig-nosed turtle in the Aquatic Wing of the Reptile House.
Reptile and Amphibian House
Although the pig-nosed turtle looks and acts like a sea turtle, its closest living relatives are the many species of soft-shelled turtles that inhabit North America, Africa, India, the Middle East, and Asia. This large turtle is unique amongst its counterparts by having large paddle-like flippers like a sea turtle, a shell that does not have scutes (scales), and nostrils that form a pig-like snout. Dorsal coloration varies from gray to olive. The ventral areas can be cream, white, or yellow.
Over 30 years in captivity.
This nearly fully aquatic species of turtle uses its large paddle-like flippers to propel itself adeptly through rivers, ponds, swamps, and lagoons searching for food.
The female pig-nosed turtle lays between 7-19 eggs during the dry season. The eggs are similar in size and appearance to ping-pong balls and have the thickest shells of any turtle species. The hatchlings emerge only after the first heavy rains of the wet season.
Up to 22 inches in length
Up to 50 lbs
Pig-nosed turtles are omnivores. In the wild the turtles consume a wide variety of plant and animal matter, including fruit and leaves as well as crustaceans, mollusks and insects. At the Zoo, the turtles are offered a base diet of Fresh Water Turtle biscuit. The biscuits provide the majority of nutrients the animals require. For activity and enrichment their diet also includes fruits, vegetables, small fish and the leaves of local trees. The animals are offered a different combination of food each day.
Northern Australia, southern Irian Jaya, and southern New Guinea
On the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the pig-nosed turtle is listed as Vulnerable.
To learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo, click here.
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