The crowned river turtle is primarily a herbivorous reptile, consuming a diet of aquatic plants and vegetation that falls into the water (2) (3), although it may also occasionally feed on freshwater shrimp, small fish (2), and frogs (3). Like all turtles, this species has no teeth, and instead uses its sharp jaws to cut food (4). When not feeding, it spends much of its time resting on the bottom (3), burying itself into the mud if it feels threatened (2). At other times, it may be seen floating quietly at the surface of the water as it basks in the warmth of the sun (3).
Courtship in the crowned river turtle is said to take place from April to July, when the male uses his forelimbs to produce a drumming sound and some mouth to mouth contact may occur between the male and female, before mating (3). Nesting has been reported to take place between August and January, with the exact timing depending on the location (2) (3). Using its hindlimbs, this turtle digs a nest in sandy soil, into which 14 to 19 elongated eggs are laid. The hatchlings, which have more brightly coloured shells than the adults, measure around just six centimetres long (3).