Indian roofed turtle
The Indian roofed turtle (Pangshura tecta ) is a species of turtle in the family Geoemydidae. It can be distinguished by the distinct "roof" at the topmost part of the shell. It is found in the major rivers of South Asia. It is a common pet in the Indian Subcontinent.
The Indian roofed turtle is a species of turtle distinguished by the distinct "roof" at the topmost part of its shell. It is found in the major rivers of South Asia and is a common pet in the Indian Subcontinent. The carapace of this turtle is brown, sometimes yellow or orange bordered, with a red to orange medial stripe. Dorsally, its head is black with a large crescent-shaped, orange to yellowish-red blotch on each temple which may form a V-shaped mark. The jaws are yellow, and the neck is black with numerous yellow stripes. Limbs are olive to gray, and spotted and bordered with yellow. Males are brighter in color than females and have long, thick tails with the vent beyond the carapacial rim. Females have short tails with the vent under the carapace and grow larger than males.
Indian roofed turtles are found in the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Indus, and Mahanadi river drainages in Pakistan, northern and peninsular India, and Bangladesh. They live in quiet streams, canals, oxbows, ponds, and man-made water tanks. They also occur in brackish coastal waters. A soft bottom and abundant aquatic vegetation are preferred conditions of these turtles.
Indian roofed turtles are active during the day and love basking in the early morning sun. Basking helps them to maintain their body temperature as well as for the synthesis of Vitamin D. Indian roofed turtles are generally solitary creatures. They spend most of their lives in water, however, they require terrestrial habitats for nesting. They dive and swim well and often travel along the shore in search of food. Indian roofed turtles are very shy and when sense danger will quickly dive into the water. In order to protect themselves, turtles quickly hide their head and legs into their hard shell.
Indian roofed turtles are omnivores and scavengers. They feed on aquatic plants, like water hyacinths and weeds, and animal prey such as crabs and snails.
The nesting period of Indian roofed turtles has been reported in October, December, January and February, and February and March. During courtship, the male swims along the female's side and may also circle her. The eggs are laid in a nest cavity that is dug in soil 14-20 cm deep. Clutches contain 3-14 elongated white eggs, that tend to become bluish at hatching time. The incubation period lasts 70-144 days. Hatchlings have 34.1-35.2 mm carapaces and weigh 7 g.
The main threats to this species include heavy collection for food, traditional medicine, and the pet trade.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Indian roofed turtle total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.