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Batagur Terrapin by Pradeep Vyas
The river terrapin Batagur baska is one of the larger terrapins, females measure 60 cm. in carapace length and weigh around 30 kg., while males measure about 50 cm. The male is larger than the female and has bright yellow eyes. After mating, the female will nest along the coast where she will dig a 60 cm. pit to lay her eggs. According to Maxwell (1911), the Myanmar river terrapins lay 50-60 eggs in three clutches. We do not know if the Sundarbans terrapins follow the same pattern but the clutch size here is usually 19 to 37. The entire process of laying eggs takes about six weeks. Batagur baska is found in the tidal areas of large, mangrove-lined river estuaries. This critically-endangered terrapin is rare in the Sundarbans, the biggest current stronghold of the species being in peninsular Malaysia. In Thailand, wild populations have been completely wiped out and it is also presumed extinct in Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore. Despite the fact that they have been categorized as critically-endangered, Batagur baskas continue to be illegally exported from Indonesia and traded in several parts of China.