Black-breasted Leaf Turtle

Geoemyda spengleri

Blending In

Black-breasted leaf turtles have 3 ridges running down their back, and the edge of their shell is jagged, giving the impression of a leaf. This allows them to blend in with the leaves on the forest floor, their preferred habitat.

About the Species

The eyes of the black-breasted leaf turtle are one of the most distinguishing features.

The black-breasted leaf turtle is native to China and Vietnam. This turtle has large eyes, with white irises. This gives them a distinct alert and curious expression. This species gets its name from its dark underside and the shape of its shell. The shell on a turtle is called a carapace. The underside of a turtle is called the plastron. Turtles are attached to their shells. In fact, their back bone is embedded in the shell. So when turtle grow, the shell grows with them. So whenever you see turtles leave their shells in cartoons, this is not realistic! A turtle has nerves running throughout the shell, and can therefore feel when it is touched.

Words From the Experts


Like many turtles in Asia, the black-breasted leaf turtle is endangered due to habitat loss and over collection for food and the pet trade.

Did You Know?

This species is one of the smallest turtle species in the world, only reaching up to 5 inches.



Southern China and Northern Vietnam


Woodlands, forests


Up to 5 inches in length


Snails, worms, crustaceans, insects


Larger mammals, humans

Natural Defenses



Females lay 1-2 eggs at a time



Life Expectancy

Up to 20 years

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