The Assam Leaf Turtle is a small to medium-sized turtle, with adult males weighing between 500-700 grams, and females weighing between 700-900 grams. They have a distinctive flattened, oval-shaped shell, which is light brown or olive green in color. The skin is also light brown in color, with a smooth texture.
The Assam Leaf Turtle is found in the northeastern parts of India, particularly in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. They prefer slow-moving rivers, ponds, and wetlands with sandy or muddy bottoms. They are also found in agricultural fields, particularly rice paddies, where they feed on insects and other small invertebrates.
The Assam Leaf Turtle is an omnivorous species, which means they eat both plants and animals. They feed on a variety of food items, including insects, snails, small fish, and aquatic plants. In agricultural fields, they are known to feed on rice paddies’ pests, making them useful to farmers.
The Assam Leaf Turtle breeds during the monsoon season, which usually lasts from June to September. Females lay their eggs in nests dug in sandy soil or in areas with soft soil. They typically lay between 2-4 eggs, and the incubation period is between 50-60 days. The hatchlings emerge in August and September.
The Assam Leaf Turtle is listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, which means they are at low risk right now. The main threat to their survival is habitat loss due to human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and infrastructure development. Hunting and collection for the pet trade also pose a significant threat to the species.
Steps Being Taken
The Indian government has listed the Assam Leaf Turtle under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, which provides it with the highest level of protection. Conservation organizations are also working to protect the species by creating awareness among local communities, conducting research on their ecology and behavior, and restoring degraded habitats.
Places to see Assam Leaf Turtles in India
One of the best places to see Assam Leaf Turtles is the Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The park is home to a large population of the species, and visitors can see them in their natural habitat. Another place to see the species is the Manas National Park, also located in Assam.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to see Assam Leaf Turtles in India is during the monsoon season, which usually lasts from June to September. During this time, the turtles are active and visible, and breeding activity can also be observed.