Asian Giant Softshell Turtles


When you think of a giant softshell turtle, what do you imagine? For me, I imagined a turtle the size of a car tire or bigger with a shell that is about a foot in height and is curved, soft and leathery to the touch. I also picture front flippers about the size of a ceiling fan blade. When I saw my first picture of an Asian giant softshell turtle, it was not at all what I had expected. We have been looking for turtles as well as their nests along the Mekong River. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other organizations have been studying these turtles in order to protect and conserve them. This turtle was thought to be extinct until it was re-discovered in 2007 along the Mekong River. Since then, WCS has been working with local communities to protect the species from people hunting them for the turtles' meat and their eggs. The Mekong River is a large river and WCS scientist can only cover certain parts of the river, so we are looking for the turtles and their nests and asking locals if they have seen any turtles or their nests recently. The WCS has not yet been able to survey the part of the river that we have just finished paddling, so anything we find we are sharing with them.

What does this creature or plant look like?:

I think that the Asian giant softshell turtle looks like a combination of a tan pancake and a pig!