Indian black turtle (Melanochelys trijuga) or Indian pond terrapin is a species of turtle found in South Asia. it is a medium sized fresh water turtle. despite its name the color of its upper shell or carapace varies largely from reddish to dark brown and black with yellow streaks running along its length.the underside or plastron is uniformly brown in color. the face of this turtle may have yellow or orange marks and spots with the color of this marks varying form 1 sub species to another. It has 6 identified sub species in the Asian region, each having somewhat different pattern of spots on head. size may vary from 38 –45 cm in length. It is also known as Hard Shelled Batgun Terrapins
N Bangladesh, C Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Chagos Islands and Nepal. May have been introduced to the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
indopeninsularis: Bangladesh, India, Nepal
parkeri: Sri Lanka
thermalis: India, Maldives, Sri Lanka
Basking in the sun
Habitat: most active during early morning and evening it spend the day basking in the sun. it typically forages on aquatic vegetation along the edge of water bodies. it is omnivorous and it diet ranges from aquatic plants to aquatic insects and even to carcasses of dead animals.Some times many turtles can be seen alongside a carcass of a large dead mammal. the Sri Lankan subspecies spends its days in burrows during day time having a flatter carapace consequently. It inhabits a variety of water bodies including ponds, marshes streams, rivers and artificial water bodies like Rice paddies, watering holes etc. Breeding: it breeds during the wet season between august to October. During this time the male becomes particularly aggressive and starts chasing the female all the while biting her along the neck, the male attaches itself on the top of female during mating,once the mating is completed the female digs a nest in the ground or occasionally in a pile of rhinoceros or elephant dung using the left hind leg to excavate the nest and right hind leg to clear the excess material. Clutch of legs are laid into this burrow, 2-6 clutches are laid in a burrow per year. incubation period of eggs is about 60–65 days and the newborns are hatched around the summer season. Status: Classified as near threatened in IUCN red list. it is particularly threatened by hunting for its meat which is considered as delicacy and due to pet trade.
Mitchell, Joseph C.;Rhodin, Anders G. J. 1996 Observations on the natural history and exploitation of the turtles of Nepal, with life history notes on Melanochelys trijuga. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2 (1): 66-72