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Chelonians (Turtles and Tortoises)


Indian Roofed Turtle(Pangshura tecta circumdata)

A brilliantly coloured species. It is one of the most widely distributed chelonians of South Asia. Omnivores, they are found in ponds, tanks, rivers, and streams. The species name 'Circumdata' refers to the bright pink ring they have around their shell.


Travancore Tortoise(Indotestudo travancorica)

Found in the wet deciduous areas of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala. It is a light to dark brown, medium sized tortoise. Unlike many other chelonians, both males and females are similar in body size. MCBT has the only breeding population of this species in the entire world. Omnivores by nature, their diet consists of grasses, fruit, and they are also known to scavenge on dead mammals.


Painted Roof Turtle(Batagur kachuga)

India’s most beautiful turtle species, which exhibits sexual dimorphism during the breeding season. The male’s head to neck region is a mélange of colors (red, yellow, blue and white) from October to December. The Croc Bank has the distinction of breeding this species for the first time in the world, in 2003. An estimated 250 individuals are known to exist in the wild.


Gangetic Softshell Turtle(Nilssonia gangetica)

A large and widespread soft-shell turtle. Males are much smaller than females. Distributed in ponds, rivers, lakes, and temple tanks in Northern India. They are group feeders, and adults are known to congregate around carcasses, and even take down blue-bull calves. Females of this species can retain sperm for over a decade, a fact discovered right here at the Croc Bank!


Northern River Terrapin(Batagur baska)

A large turtle, found in the mangrove forests of the Sunderbans and Bangladesh. The Croc Bank has had two females of this species since the 1980s, and in 2012 received an adult male from Zoo Vienna. Reproduction has been successful, with 12 hatchlings in 2016 and 8 in 2018. We have around 10 % of the world’s B. baska in captivity, an achievement we are proud of!


Indian Flapshell Turtle(Lissemys punctata)

A medium sized soft-shell turtle. It is perhaps the least threatened chelonian in India. Habitats vary from rice fields, irrigation canals, temple tanks, rivers, sewage treatment plants, and wells where they are introduced to control insects. Primary threats faced by this animal is capture for food and medicine.


Indian Black turtle(Melanochelys trijuga)

Spread throughout the Indian sub-continent, and Sri Lanka. The Croc Bank has over 100 females of this species. An ongoing project on their nesting biology is being conducted as part of our research program.


Aldabra tortoise(Aldabrachelys gigantea)

The second largest tortoise in the world! We received 4 of these giants in 2007 from Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic. This species is endemic to the Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles ( a UNESCO World Heritage site). All 4 individuals are up for adoption, and our biggest male weighs a massive 87 kgs!


Indian Star Tortoise(Geochelone elegans)

Widely popular in the illegal wildlife trade due to their pretty star-like patterns on the shell. Found in scrub forests, edges of deserts, agricultural fields, grasslands of north-western India, south-eastern India, and Sri Lanka. We have three individuals up for adoption waiting patiently for a foster family!