Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black Softshell Turtle

Black Softshell Turtle
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Testudines
Family : Trionychidae
Genus : Aspideretes?
Species : A. nigricans

IUCN Status : Extinct in the wild

Like the Yangtze Soft-shell Turtle, the Black Softshell Turtle is also extremely rare, so rare that they are listed as being extinct in the wild. There are between 150-300 living in a man-made pond at the Hazrat Sultan Bayazid Bastami Shrine in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and it is believed that there is one other small population in Assam, India.

The Turtles at the shrine are protected, and cannot be killed or harvested. It is believed that the Turtles are actually connected to the saint. Pilgrims offer food to the turtles, and females nest in protected, walled off areas. They lay up to 40 eggs at a time which take around 100 days to hatch.

Not much else is known about these turtles and their historical habitats or wild behaviors. They were already living near exclusively in the shrine when they were first described in 1875.

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