Indian softshell turtle

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Indian softshell turtle
Nilssonia gangetica.jpg
The shell of a young turtle. In an adult the dark spots are hard to see, or are no longer there[1]
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Nilssonia gangetica
(Cuvier, 1825)[2]

The Indian softshell turtle (Nilssonia gangetica), or Ganges softshell turtle is a species of softshell turtle. It lives in rivers such as the Ganges and Mahanadi in India and Bangladesh. Its shell can be up to 94 cm (37 in) in length.[1] It feeds mostly on fish, amphibians, carrion and other animal matter, but also eats aquatic plants.[1] The turtle is listed as a vulnerable species.[2]

The turtle has a long neck and a long nose, which means it is able to easily keep the tip of the nose out of the water to breathe.[3] It has an oval shaped shell, which is also fairly flat and smooth which means it is able to swim very fast.[3]

These turtles are often kept in the temple ponds of Odisha where they are considered sacred.[4]

The Indian softshell turtle is under threat as 30 to 40 tons of turtle meat is sold in markets every week.[3] The shells are also used to make masks, which are sold to tourists.[3] The turtles' habitat is also being changed by the building of dams, drainage works, and increasing levels of fishing and farming.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ernst, C.H.; Altenburg, R.G.M.; and Barbour, R.W. (1997). Aspideretes gangeticus, Turtles of the World. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Nilssonia gangetica from the Redlist
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Nilssonia gangetica | ARKive: Ganges soft-shelled turtle videos, photos and facts - Nilssonia gangetica | ARKive, accessdate: December 21, 2015
  4. Annandale, Nelson; Shastri, Mahamahopadhyaya Haraprasad (1914). "Relics of the worship of mud-turtles (Trionychidae) in India and Burma". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal: 131–138.