Species Spotlight: Pink-ringed Tent Turtle

Ping-ringed Tent Turtle (Pangshura tentoria circumdata)

Countries of Origin: India, Nepal

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Habitat: Large to small rivers of northern India and southern Nepal including the Chambal, Ganges, Ghaghra, Hindon, Koshi, and Yamuna

Size: Males ≤ 8 cm (3.1 in.); Females ≤ 27 cm (10.6 in.)

Factoids:

– Named for the pink coloration along the seam of its lateral and marginal carapace scutes

– Features a pronounced dorsal keel on the 3rd central carapace scute

– One of three subspecies of Indian Tent Turtle (Pangshura tentoria), such named for their pronounced dorsal keel and sloped carapace shape, resembling a tent

– An “aggressive basker,” meaning they spend considerable time sunning on logs, fallen trees, and rocks

– Adult females are primarily herbivorous, while males and juveniles are omnivorous

– Males and females demonstrate marked sexual dimorphism, with the females being 3-4 times larger than males

– Females lay 3-12 eggs, with an average of 6 per clutch, and may lay two clutches per nesting season

– Hatchlings are immediately adapted for riverine environments, and seek refuge along vegetated borders and amongst debris

– Occurs sympatrically with the large river turtles of northern India, such as Red-Crowned (Batagur kachuga) and Three-striped (Batagur dhongoka) roofed turtles in the National Chambal Sanctuary

– Not protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972), but protected from wild collection at the state level without express permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden and the State Biodiversity Board

– International trade regulated under Appendix II of CITES

Threats: Poaching for pet and food markets, egg collection, overfishing and incidental capture in fishing nets, erratic river flow, and clandestine sand collection

How you can help: Our TSA India Program conducts surveys and population structure assessments of sympatrically associated freshwater turtles inhabiting the lesser and greater Saryu (Ghaghra) and Chambal rivers and riverine wetlands of the Ganges River in North India; the Pink-Ringed Tent Turtle is one of the species among those. Additionally, TSA is on the front line of combating poaching and trade of India’s turtles. We regularly provide law enforcement with critical information, train law enforcement officials in identifying and handling smuggled turtles, triage and provide long-term medical and husbandry care for turtles seized from wildlife trade, return confiscated turtles to the wild, and provide community outreach. You can help us further these activities and expand our impact by supporting this and other programs like it!

Species Spotlight Key Turtle Terminology:

Carapace: The top shell of a turtle

Scute: The outer keratin plates of the shell

Central: The scutes arranged along the midline of the top shell

Vertebral: Another term for the central scutes; situated above the vertebrae

Lateral: The scutes arranged along the sides of the top shell

Marginal: The scutes arranged around the periphery of the top shell

Seam: Juncture of the individual scutes

Temporal: Of or situated on the temples of the head

Dorsal: Of, on, or relating to the upper side or back

Keel: Longitudinal ridge along the midline of the top shell

Sexual Dimorphism: Differences in appearance between males and females of the same species

CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature

Sympatric: Occurring within the same geographical area; overlapping in distribution

Clandestine: Done secretively, especially when illicit

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