Friday, August 24, 2012

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum

When we visited the Chinese Garden recently, at the same time we visited The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum.


Opens daily from 9am to 6pm, the museum is about 15mins walk from the main entrance of the Chinese Garden.



Okay.. from outside the museum seems to be nothing spectacular, and with a paying fee of $5 per adult and $3 per child, I was initially not very keen to go in.


Though $16 (2 adults & 2 children) is a gamble, but the girls were very excited to see some tortoises.


Ended up, we were totally surprised to have learnt so much about turtles and tortoises. You can never imagine that there are so many different species of tortoise.


Alligator Snapping Turtle
This is one of the biggest freshwater turtles in the world, holding the record for maximum weight of 99.5kg.


Pig-Nose Turtle
It leads an extremely aquatic life in rivers, lakes and lagoons. It’s diet is omnivorous, based on aquatic plants, water insects and small fish.


Red-Footed Tortoise
The common name arises from the red scales on its forelegs. It has attractive red markings on the dark-coloured carapace and sometimes on its head. The Chinese valued it for its “8-shaped” carapace which is deemed auspicious.


It has a flat and slightly distorted head with tiny eyes, very close to its snout. It is known to the Chinese as the “dragon-head turtle” and this species is the only known turtle that can smile. It’s a weak swimmer; therefore the nasal region of the turtle is elongated, enabling the nose to be used as a snorkel for breathing as well as lurk quietly for long periods when the turtle is in shallow waters.


Radiated Tortoise
This tortoise is very long lived with specimens known to be over 100 years old. It lives principally in forests. Mating is preceded by long courtship displays on the part of the males.


Ornate Box Turtle
The shell of this turtle is uniquely formed such that it is able to withdraw completely or lock itself up and looks like a box when under threat. This species is commonly found on land thus often mistakenly taken as a tortoise.


Chinese-Striped Necked Turtle
It lives in stagnant or slow flowing water. The elongated carapace has three conspicuous keels and is up to 24cm long. An endangered species, captured indiscriminately for commerce.



Enough said for the different species of turtles and tortoises. I’m quite sure if you are still interested, you will definitely visit the museum to learn more. As for the girls, besides being scared captivated by the weird turtles, they enjoyed the chance to just get close to some of the more common turtles and even fed them.




As for me, it was a one of the rare chance to take some animal shots whereby the subject is slow-moving and I have lots of time to frame my shots.



Caught you eating…



A small swing for the child & the child-within-us.


It was a fun and educational trip.

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