This s another Indian flapshell turtle.

The Indian flapshell turtle is a very unique creature!

The one that was brought in to the WRRC, on January 4, 2023, didn’t look at all well when she arrived at the WRRC, at the edge of the Bannergatta Forest, just outside Bangalore.

Not meant to be a pet

The woman who brought the turtle to the wildlife center explained to Dr. Roopa Satish, the veterinarian and wildlife rehabilitator at the WRRC, that she’d had the turtle for some time, hoping that she would do well as a pet and would be happy.

When the woman realized that the turtle wasn’t doing well and that she didn’t know how to care for her, she had put the turtle into her car and had driven all the way from the city of Mysore, to Bangalore, which was 144 kilometers or 90 miles away, to give the animal a better chance at life.

Although she didn’t give a specific account of how she had acquired the turtle, it was clear that she did care about her well-being.

The flapshell turtle is a protected species under the Indian Wildlife Protection Law of 1972, and it isn’t legal for private individuals to possess this wild species.

Dr. Roopa thanked the woman for bringing the turtle and then took the time to explain that keeping a wild animal as a pet isn’t legal, and also, it just doesn’t work well.

Though the woman never intended any harm to the turtle, keeping a wild animal in inappropriate conditions will certainly harm the health of any wild animal.

Wild animals should never be kept as pets

All wildlife go downhill when they are kept as pets and deprived of their freedom.

Wildlife rehabilitation is a process, sometimes quite lengthy, to get the animal well and strong enough, once again, to be able to survive when released back to the wild.

So many wild species – all different!

All wild species have very specific requirements. The various species are quite different, so it takes a highly trained, qualified wildlife rehabilitator to look after them – all this is regulated by law—in India and in most countries.

The woman hadn’t realized all that, but she had noticed that the turtle was lethargic and just not doing well. She was glad that she had brought her to a place where she could get the right care and regain her strength.

Upon arrival, the flapshell turtle weighed 1.175 kg (2.59 pounds).

After a routine examination, Dr. Roopa and her assistants placed the turtle in an enclosure with fresh clean water and sunlight to observe her natural behavior, reflexes, and appetite.

At first, she was observed to be very lethargic. All her limbs and her head were stretched out, basking in the sun, but she wasn’t moving or swimming. She seemed very weak.

She barely ate the fresh fish and shrimp placed in front of her.

A good sign

However, she did make some movements. She was shy and would retract her head and limbs into her soft shell whenever anyone approached her. So, that was a good sign!

After a week’s observation, they shifted her into a clean vivarium indoors for therapy.

The turtle is now being kept moist using a clean wet cloth, and daily sun basking is carried out. She also receives anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory therapy and is given lots of fluids too, to help her regain her health and strength.

Wildlife need special care

A flapshell turtle needs a pool with clean, fresh water. They need the right amount of sunlight, as well as heating or cooling to achieve the correct temperature for their species. Also, they need the right food – not too much and not too little. And they need enough exercise! There’s just no way that a person without a lot of special training can know about or provide all of this.

It can take a long time to bring a turtle like this back to a good state of health, to be released back to the natural world, where, thanks to the excellent care she is now receiving – if all goes well, she will lead a long and happy life.

A chance to recover

Dr. Roopa Satish writes, “We hope this turtle recovers completely and is released back into the wild.”

Thank goodness, the woman who tried to keep her as a pet realized the mistake she had made and brought her to the WRRC.

The turtle will require a lot of care! But now she has a chance to recover and one day be released back to the wild.

May you have a happy life, little turtle, and be able to swim free once again in a peaceful forest pool! We wish you well!

Photo 160084901 / Indian Flapshell Turtle © Maninder Singh |

© Copyright Forest Voices of India, 2023.

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