Chinese Softshell Turtle

Chinese Soft Shelled Turtle in the reptile house at Wingham Wildlife Park

Chinese Softshell Turtle Natural History


The females of this species are slightly larger than the males with their carapaces (upper shell) reaching up to 33 cm (13 inches) in length and can weigh up to 6 kg.

Habitat and Distribution

They inhabit rivers, creeks, lakes, rice paddies, lakes, ponds ad marshlands throughout southern China, northern Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Hainan Island.


They can live for over 25 years.


These turtles mostly eat crustaceans, worms, fish and insects but will also eat leaves and seeds.

Groups and Breeding

After mating females will nest from the early spring to late summer. She can lay several clutches of eggs each year which may contain up to 30 eggs each. The eggs will hatch between 40- 80 days later.


Chinse softshell turtles are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN with a declining population. Despite being commercially farmed in vast numbers for the food trade wild populations continue to be captured for this trade.

Interesting facts

They get the name ‘soft shell’ because their carapace lacks the horny scutes that most turtles have, their carapace is smoother and more leathery.

The Chinese Softshell Turtle During Your Day Out in Kent

The Chinese softshell turtle at Wingham Wildlife Park is always on display in the reptile house next to the pet village. The majority of this turtle’s enclosure is made up of water in which he spends most of his time but he does also have a dry area available if he wishes to use it. This is also home to a number of species of other snakes, crocodilians, geckos, turtles, tortoises and lizards as well as several invertebrates including tarantulas and a scorpion.