Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle

Feb. 23, 2024

Recently, conservationists from the University of Portsmouth uncovered the nesting site of the "secretive" Cantor's giant softshell turtle on the banks of the Chandragiri River in Kerala.

About Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle:

  • It is also known as the Asian giant softshell turtleand the frog-faced softshell turtle.
  • It is a species known for its rarity and secretive nature.
  • It spends most of its life buried and motionless, with only its eyes and mouth protruding from the sand.
  • It surfaces only twice a day to take a breath and capture its prey by sit-and-wait strategy using an element of surprise.
  • These turtles are primarily carnivores (piscivores) feeding on fish, crustaceans, and molluscs.
  • Distribution: It is found in eastern and southern India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, eastern and southern China.
  • Habitat: They inhabit inland, slow-moving, freshwater rivers, lakes, streams, and estuaries.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Critically endangered
    • CITES: Appendix II
    • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
  • Threats: Habitat destruction has made it disappear from much of its environment. They are also heavily harvested by locals for meat.