Asian Soft Shell Turtle (Amyda Cartilaginea)
IUCN: Red List: Vulnerable
Asian Soft – Shell Turtles are a large species of freshwater turtles native to Southeast Asia which inhabit lowland streams deep within forested areas. They have a leathery carapace which is flat & round with a coloration which mimics that of a soft olive green that blends in with the muddy streams in which they inhabit.
These turtles are native to freshwater habitats throughout Southeast Asia including Brunei, Cambodia, India, Laos, Malaysia & Singapore. They commonly will indulge in aquatic vegetation available in their low lying habitats but will not shy away from endemic wildlife including fish & snails which share their environment.
Asian Soft-Shelled Turtles are rather solitary creatures who tend to stay underwater for long periods by digging into surroundings with their sharp claws and breathing through their skin. This allows them to stay dormant for extended periods of time while stalking unsuspecting prey in their vicinity or protecting themselves from predators.
- These turtles are predominantly carnivorous and the remains of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects, and seeds of marsh plants have been found in their stomachs.
- Chinese softshell turtles often submerge their heads in water. This is because they carry a gene which produces a protein that allows them to secrete urea from their mouths. This adaptation helps them survive in brackish water by making it possible for them to excrete urea without drinking too much salty water. Rather than eliminating urea by urinating through their cloaca as most turtles do, which involves significant water loss, they simply rinse their mouths in the water.
- When provoked, certain populations of these turtles are capable of excreting a foul smelling fluid from pores on the anterior edge of their shells.
- With their long snout and tubelike nostrils, these turtles can “snorkel” in shallow water. When resting, they lie at the bottom, buried in sand or mud, lifting their head to breathe or snatch at prey. Their basking habit is not well developed.
- The females lay 8–30 eggs in a clutch and may lay from 2 to 5 clutches each year. The eggs are laid in a nest that is about 76–102 mm (3–4 in) across at the entrance. Eggs are spherical and average about 20 mm (0.79 in) in diameter. After an incubation period of about 60 days, which may be longer or shorter depending upon temperature, the eggs hatch. Average hatchling carapace length is about 25 mm (1 in) and width is also about 25 mm (1 in)
Plants, Fish & other small aquatic animals
|Weight:||Up to 24kg|