Okavango mud turtle
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira
Family: Pelomedusidae
Genus: Pelusios
P. bechuanicus
Binomial name
Pelusios bechuanicus
  • Pelusios bechuanicus FitzSimons, 1932
  • Pelusios castaneus bechuanicus Mertens, 1971
  • Pelusios bechuanicus bechuanicus Broadley, 1981

The Okavango mud turtle (Okavango terrapin[3]) (Pelusios bechuanicus) is a species of turtle in the family Pelomedusidae endemic to Africa. It is found in Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia (Caprivi), Zambia, and Zimbabwe.[1]


Found in central Africa, central Angola, northeastern Namibia, northern Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia[4]


The Okavango mud turtle is the largest species of the genus Pelusios. The carapace is oval and elongated, with a pronounced dome, and is evenly rounded at the edges which allows the turtle to appear as a smooth rock.[4] The carapace is very dark, often almost black, and lightens up to yellow or orange only at the sides. The plastron is well developed and can close the shell completely, with a rounded front lobe that comes together to form the hinge that is characteristic of the genus.[4]


The turtle is observed most often in clear, deep, calm waters, in rivers, and in vegetation-choked swamps.[4] It is a semi-aquatic animal that remains in the water most of the year. It is observed outside of the water habitat only when seeking temporary aquatic refuge during the dry season.[4] The breeding season occurs during the southern summer and nests are quite large, between 20 and 50 eggs.[4] The turtle is most frequent prey to the shoe-billed stork and it is characteristically a carnivore, feeding on fish and invertebrates.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Rhodin et al. 2011, p. 000.215
  2. ^ a b Fritz & Havaš 2007, p. 346
  3. ^ Broadley, Donald G. (1973). "Provisional List of Vernacular Names for Rhodesian Reptiles and Amphibians". The Journal of the Herpetological Association of Africa. 10 (1): 17–24. doi:10.1080/04416651.1973.9650652.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Bonin, Franck; Devaux, Bernard; Dupre, Alain (2006). Turtles of the World. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8496-2.