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{January 1, 2013}   The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum, Singapore

Little did you know there is a Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum in Singapore did you? Yesterday, I accompanied my mom, niece and nephew to this museum, which is fairly near where we live, for a little jaunt before the new school year starts. My niece and nephew have been there several times and were very excited showing me around. The museum does not take a large space, but it does have a comprehensive range of turtles and tortoises on display which were pre-owned as pets. The museum assures that these animals were not captured from the wild.

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum is located in Chinese Garden which is conveniently situated next to Chinese Garden MRT Station. It opens daily from 9am to 6pm and charges an entry fee of $3. A favourite activity of the kids who visit is feeding the turtles and tortoises with vegetables (which you can bring your own) or with a bag of food pallets that can be purchased for $1.

I often marvel at the weird and wonderful creatures featured on Milky Way Scientists and think that such intriguing critters (such as the tiny peacock spider, the pink moth, the regal ringneck snake, and the Japanese dwarf flying squirrel) would be impossible to spot in such a place like urban Singapore or even in captivity. The biodiversity in Singapore is extensive and rich, but spotting them might need some luck and patience which comes in limited supply in hectic Singapore. And not to say that our zoological parks do not have a wide variety of exhibits, but the range in the zoos do already have a lot of press coverage.

So I was very fascinated by what I could see up close at the Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum in my own backyard. Listed in ascending order of intrigue…

The Matamata Turtle

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 38 - Matamata

The Indian Flapshell Turtle

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 40 - Indian Flapshell Turtle

The Albino Softshell Turtle

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 37 - Albino Softshell Turtle

The Pig-Nosed Turtle

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 60 - Pig-Nosed Turtle

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 62 - Pig-Nosed Turtle The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 61 - Pig-Nosed Turtle

And the Snake-necked Turtle

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 51 - Snake-Necked Turtle

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 55 - Snake-Necked Turtle The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 58 - Snake-Necked Turtle

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 53 - Snake-Necked Turtle

The above turtles are kept in tanks, however there are other species, especially tortoises, that are “free range” and kept in larger enclosures.

The Sulcata Tortoises for example roam the grounds of the museum freely and is evidently a big fan of carrots. Notice it’s menacingly jagged and sharp jaws.

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 25 - Sulcata Tortoise

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 26 - Sulcata Tortoise

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum 20 - Sulcata Tortoise

Although rather small, this museum is very educational for kids and adults and a great way to spend an hour or two.

Just in case you have not yet observed the differences between turtles and tortoises, they are:

  • Turtles primarily live in water (fresh water and oceans) and so have webbed front feet or flipper-like fins to make swimming easier.
  • Tortoises live almost exclusively on land, so do not have flippers, but normal feet without webbing, often with sharp claws for digging. They only enter water to drink or wash themselves off, and can in fact drown in strong currents. They may be found in arid areas.
  • Turtles tend to have flatter shells than tortoises, while tortoises have a more domed shell.
  • Turtles can be omnivorous, eating both plants and insects; tortoises eat only plants and leaves and other vegetation, so they are herbivorous, especially preferring moisture-bearing vegetation.
  • Turtles can migrate from one place to another, swimming mighty oceans; tortoises tend to stay in one area.

View the full album here.

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