When a Ficus stupenda strangler fruited next to the Sungai Tawau river at Tawau Hills Park in early April 2022, park researcher  Aeril Ambo noticed that a freshwater Flat-backed Turtle Notochelys platynota was waiting in the river below for the fallen fruit. If the fruit fell on the bank then the turtle would drag the fig into the river before attacking  and eating it.

Photos and information provided by Shavez Cheema and Chun Xing WONG of 1Stop Borneo Wildlife.




Both species of turtle illustrated above are common at Tawau Hills Park and both have been recorded feeding on fallen figs. The Flat-backed turtle has  webs between its toes  and spends most of its time in the river whilst the Spiny Turtle has no webs between its toes and spends most of its time on the forest floor.

The illustration is from Thomas Hardwicke and J.E. Gray Illustrations of Indian Zoology (1830–1835).