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Dahl’s Toad-headed Turtle

Mesoclemmys dahli


The Critically Endangered Dahl’s toad-headed turtle is endemic to the dry forests of northern Colombia. This peculiar species is highly terrestrial and may even estivate during the dry season.

The toad-headed turtles of the genus Mesoclemmys diverged from all other living turtles around 80 million years ago. This is around the same time humans last shared a common ancestor with our strange and distant relatives, the colugos!

Dahl’s toad-headed turtle is under threat from habitat loss and degradation due to urban expansion, fire, cattle and agriculture. The species is listed as Critically Endangered due to its highly restricted range.

The species is not known from any protected areas, and the creation of protected areas and initiation of habitat restoration are key to the survival of this unique species.

  • Order: Testudines
  • Family: Chelidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 29.7cm (?)

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 6.61 (?)
ED Score: 45.207 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This species is found in northern Colombia, restricted to regions north of the Andes.

Habitat and Ecology

This species lives both terrestrially and in fresh water. It nests on land and is highly terrestrial during the dry season. Individuals feed on crustaceans, snails and aquatic insects.

Little is known of its reproductive ecology.

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