Asian Giant Softshell Turtles

Its head is small with lots of rolls in the neck so it can extend or contract its neck when needed for protection--like all turtles. Its nose looks like the snout of a pig, and it has a small eye on either side of the snout. The flippers are very small! In fact, it is confusing to me how these animals can swim with such small flippers! Sea turtles and river turtles have scales on their flippers and heads, as well as scoots on their shells (also called a carapace). The scoots are the pattern that make-up their carapace. Looking at the Asian giant softshell turtle, it is very hard to see any scales or scoots. Their carapace looks smooth and almost see-through to the point where you can see what could be thei turtle's backbone. These turtles have excellent river camouflage, as their shells and bodies are the same color as the sand--a golden brown and tan color. I think they are very cute looking, but not everyone on the expedition agrees with me!

How did I feel when I saw it?:

We have not yet seen a turtle, but we have seen possible turtle nests. When I saw the possible turtle nest, I was extremely excited! I saw a hole in the sand, so immediately paddled over to the bank to check out what I thought I had seen. At first, only one member of our expedition team followed, but then everyone came over to see what we were looking at. The hole was smal,l and I used a thin but strong stick to poke into the sand to feel if there were any air pockets or shells inside. When turtles make a nest, they make a hole in the sand and then bury their eggs and cover them with sand again. Seeing this potential turtle nest made me feel hopeful that we might find more and that there are turtles in this area of the Mekong River.