Indian Soft Shell Turtle (Nilssonia gangetica)
Indian Soft Shell Turtle (Nilssonia gangetica) is a fresh water turtle found mainly in rivers, ponds and lakes. This specimen form the Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India is one of the Seven species of fresh water Turtles recorded from the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. It is one of the largest fresh water turtles growing up to a size of 94 cms. It is predominantly carnivorous. The head is snouted. The snout is not drawn out into a small snorkel as in N. hurum.
The carapace is low and oval of grey black, green or grey colour. The Breeding season is from April to May and the females may deposit about 25-35 eggs in a single clutch. The incubation temperatures determine the sex of the offspring. Being reptiles, turtles are known to aestivate/hibernate by burrowing in the dry season until the rain occurs. Aestivations habitats may be bushes, Eichornia, grass, soft mud or dried mud. N. gangetica can hibernate at depths of almost 12 cm.
Also see https://youtu.be/jBg-3rtSgEI? (An Instinct Denied) , https://youtu.be/evPQBDq0CBk? (Kya Banega Phir Se Gharaunda. A Hindi Version of “An Instinct Denied”) for a fuller film produced by Srimaa Communication which discusses the breeding activity of water birds and the failure of nesting because of scarcity of water. It has studied the painted storks, the open billed storks, the darters, cormorants, cranes, egrets and the baya weaver bird in their wetland surroundings at Keoladeo Ghana National Park.
Acknowledgements-Dr. Yashpal Singh, Mrs. Neena Singh, Mr. Rajesh Bedi, Manoj Kumar Yadav