The Cochin forest cane turtle (Vijayachelys silvatica) is a species of freshwater turtle endemic to the Western Ghats of India. It is a medium-sized turtle, with a maximum shell length of about 50 cm (20 in). Its carapace is dark brown to black, with yellow-brown patches and spots. The plastron is yellow with dark blotches. This species is found in streams and ponds in tropical moist deciduous and evergreen forests. It is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN due to habitat destruction and the illegal pet trade.
The Cochin Forest Cane Turtle is a small to medium-sized turtle, with adults reaching up to 30 cm in length and weighing up to 3 kg. They have a cylindrical shell that is dark brown or black in color with a rough texture. Their head is small and narrow, with two small eyes and a pointed snout. The feet are webbed, enabling efficient swimming.
Habitat and Distribution
The Cochin Forest Cane Turtle is endemic to the Western Ghats of India and is found in the streams, rivers, and swamps of the forests in the region. They prefer slow-moving or still water with a muddy or sandy bottom and plenty of aquatic vegetation.
The Cochin Forest Cane Turtle is omnivorous, feeding on a variety The Cochin forest cane turtle is an important species in its ecosystem. It helps to maintain healthy aquatic habitats by feeding on aquatic vegetation and other food sources. It also helps to control the population of other species by feeding on their eggs and young.
The Cochin forest cane turtle lays its eggs in shallow nests in the mud or sand near the water’s edge. The females may lay up to 15 eggs at a time. The eggs are round and have a leathery, grayish-brown shell. Incubation takes about three months, and the hatchlings are about 2 cm (0.8 in) long.
The Cochin Forest Cane Turtle is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss, overexploitation for the pet trade and food, 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 or food.
Places to See Cochin Forest Cane Turtle
The Cochin Forest Cane Turtle can be found in various wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the Western Ghats of India, such as Silent Valley National Park, Periyar National Park, and Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve. The best time to see them is during the breeding season, which is from December to May.