The Indian Peacock Softshell Turtle is a species of freshwater turtle found in the Indian subcontinent. 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 Indian Peacock Softshell Turtle is a medium to large-sized freshwater turtle that can grow up to 90 cm in length and weigh up to 50 kg. They have a soft, leathery shell, which is olive green to black in color with yellow markings, resembling the eye of a peacock feather. They have a long, pointed snout and webbed feet for efficient swimming.
Habitat and Distribution
The Indian Peacock Softshell Turtle is found in the freshwater habitats of the Indian subcontinent, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus river systems. They prefer shallow, slow-moving or still water bodies, such as ponds, lakes, and canals, with sandy or muddy bottoms and plenty of aquatic vegetation.
The Indian Peacock Softshell Turtle is primarily carnivorous, feeding on a variety of aquatic animals like fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and insects. They are also known to scavenge on dead animals and feed on plant material occasionally.
The breeding season for Indian Peacock Softshell Turtles in India is from January to March. During this time, the females come ashore to lay eggs in sandy or gravelly banks of rivers or ponds. They usually lay 10-20 eggs per clutch, which hatch after 65-80 days of incubation.
The Indian Peacock Softshell Turtle is listed as Vulnerable 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 Indian Peacock Softshell Turtles
The best places to see Indian Peacock Softshell Turtles in India are in the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of Northern India, such as Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Dudhwa National Park, and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. The best time to see them is during the breeding season, which is from January to March.