The Assam Roofed Turtle is a species of freshwater turtle found in Northeast India and parts of Bangladesh. In this article, we will discuss the general features of this species, their habitat, food habits, breeding, number of eggs they give, their conservation status, and where one can go in India to see them.
The Assam Roofed Turtle is a small to medium-sized freshwater turtle that can grow up to 26 cm in length and weigh up to 2 kg. They have a dark brown or black shell with a rough texture and a distinctive hump on their upper shell, which gives them their common name. The plastron, or lower shell, is yellowish or cream-colored. The head and limbs are also dark brown or black in color.
Habitat and Distribution
The Assam Roofed Turtle is found in the freshwater habitats of Northeast India and parts of Bangladesh. In India, they are mainly found in the Brahmaputra and Barak river systems of Assam and Meghalaya. They prefer slow-moving or stagnant water bodies like ponds, lakes, and small streams with plenty of aquatic vegetation.
The Assam Roofed Turtle is primarily herbivorous, feeding on a variety of aquatic plants like water hyacinth, water lilies, and duckweed. They also occasionally feed on insects, small fish, and crustaceans.
The breeding season for Assam Roofed Turtles in India is from November to February. During this time, the females come ashore to lay eggs in the sandy or muddy banks of rivers or ponds. They usually lay 3-7 eggs per clutch, which hatch after 55-60 days of incubation.
The Assam Roofed Turtle is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss, overexploitation for the pet trade, and other anthropogenic activities. The species is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of India, and various conservation measures have been taken to conserve this species in the wild. Some of the steps being taken include habitat restoration, enforcement of wildlife laws, and awareness programs to discourage the trade of these turtles as pets.
Places to See Assam Roofed Turtles
The best places to see Assam Roofed Turtles in India are in the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of Northeast India, such as Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. The best time to see them is during the breeding season, which is from November to February.