Cool Science
Off You Go

May 11, 2016

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Photo Credit: ©Olly Griffin/WCS

This rather slippery-looking reptile is an Asiatic softshell turtle. It was confiscated by a law enforcement team from Cambodia's Forestry Administration and tended to by WCS Cambodia.

After checking it over for any sign of disease or injury, the team took it to a small lake within Seima Protection Forest, an area typical of its preferred habitat, for release.

On their Facebook page, WCS Cambodia reported that "as soon as it saw water, [the turtle] began a frantic wriggling, and once placed on the ground it sprinted the last five meters to the edge of the lake and disappeared with a loud splash, no doubt happy to be back."

As you can see in the photo, the species has a long, tubular snout (here, partially tucked into its shell), paddle-like limbs tipped with sharp claws, and leathery skin instead of the typical bony plates found with many other turtle species.

Asiatic softshell turtles are popular in Asia as food and the species is listed as Vulnerable by IUCN.

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