Crowned River Turtle

The crowned river turtle, also known as the crowned terrapin or the Indian sawback turtle, is a freshwater turtle species found in the Indian subcontinent. It belongs to the family Geoemydidae and the genus Hardella. 

General Features

Weight: Adult crowned river turtles typically weigh between 2 and 3 kg.

Length: They can grow up to 30 cm in length.

Color: The carapace (upper shell) of the crowned river turtle is usually dark brown to black, while the plastron (lower shell) is yellowish. The species gets its name from the distinctive crown-like pattern on the carapace.


The crowned river turtle is found in several rivers and water bodies across India, including the Brahmaputra, Ganges, and Mahanadi river systems. They prefer slow-moving, shallow water bodies such as ponds, lakes, and marshes, and can also be found in irrigation canals and rice fields. The species is omnivorous, feeding on a variety of aquatic plants and animals such as insects, fish, and snails.


Breeding in crowned river turtles typically occurs between January and June. Females lay clutches of 4-7 eggs in sandy areas close to water bodies. Incubation takes between 60-80 days, after which the hatchlings emerge and make their way to the water.

Conservation Status

Unfortunately, the crowned river turtle is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Habitat destruction, pollution, and hunting for their meat and eggs are the primary threats to the species. Several conservation efforts are being taken to protect the crowned river turtle, including habitat restoration and captive breeding programs.

Places to See Indian Crowned river turtle

If you’re interested in seeing crowned river turtles in their natural habitat, there are several locations across India where you can do so. In the North East river system, they can be seen near the banks and ponds basking in the sun. The national parks where they can be seen are 

> Kaziranga

> Manas

> Sunderbans. 

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