Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle Facts
- The Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle ranks as one of the largest extant species of turtle known to man. This rather unique animal also bears the name of Theodore Edward Cantor.
- Also, much confusion exists concerning the exact maximum size of this turtle. This species spends approximately 95% of life buried in the sand or mud.
- Once there it remains motionless. During this time, only its mouth and eyes remain exposed. Typically, it also only emerges twice per day.
- This it does for various reasons, including to attack its prey.
- The IUCN lists the species as Endangered. The primary threats to its existence are habitat loss and hunting.
Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle Physical Description
The amazing Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle forms a species of freshwater turtle. Its maximum confirmed carapace length measured 39 in (100 cm). Claims of individual specimens measuring as much as 6 ft (1.9 m) in total length also exist. But these remain unsubstantiated.
The carapace also has a smooth texture. It also typically shows an olive green color. Yet immature individuals often display dark mottling and yellow coloring. This appears primarily present around the edges of the carapace.
The Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle also possesses a broad skull, with relatively small eyes. These are located comparatively close to the tip of the snout.
When it reproduces, the female will typically lay between 20-28 eggs at a time. This occurs between the months of February and March.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Trionychidae
- Genus: Pelochelys
- Species: P. cantorii
Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle Distribution and Habitat
The Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle lives almost exclusively in freshwater streams and rivers. In addition, these bodies of water must be rather slow moving.
Populations of this species also most often live inland. Yet there remains some evidence that its range also includes coastal regions as well.
The species primarily occurs in India, Burma, and Thailand. It can also be found in Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Java. On occasion, individuals are spotted in neighboring areas as well. Yet it remains undetermined if these are indigenous to these areas.
The primarily carnivorous Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle also seems to be a rather effective ambush predator. It feeds primarily on mollusks, fish, and small crustaceans. In addition, occasionally it will consume small quantities of various aquatic plants.