Throughout its range Orlitia appears to be a thinly distributed species, and although it has been little studied in the wild it appears to be rather aggressive to its own kind – or pair are currently separated because of the males’ aggression. They do not appear to bask much, and seem to spend a lot of time patrolling the mud at the bottom of still or slow moving waters. In this behaviour they somewhat resemble the Black Marsh Turtle Siebenrockiella that I described last week, which is interesting as they are believed to be each others closest living relatives.
Rare animals that live at the bottom of muddy waters are not exactly easy to study, and the ecology of the wild animal is little known. They appear to be omnivorous in captivity, happily feeding on fruit and other plant material, but they also eat snails, fish, and other aquatic life. They will also scavenge, which is how they get caught on hook and line and wind up in Asian food markets. In common with all the other Asian turtles, as a result they are Endangered throughout their range.
|Orlitia for sale in an Asian market|
(images from Wikipedia, World Chelonia Trust)