WASHINGTON – One of the world’s largest and least studied freshwater turtles has been found in Cambodia’s Mekong River, raising hopes that the threatened species can be saved from extinction. Scientists from World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, the Cambodian Fisheries Administration, and the Cambodian Turtle Conservation Team captured and released a 24.2 pound female Cantor’s giant softshell turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) during a survey in March.
Instead of an exterior shell commonly associated with turtles, the Cantor’s giant softshell turtle has a rubbery skin with ribs fused together to form a protective layer over the internal organs. To protect itself from predators, the turtle spends 95 percent of its life hidden in sand or mud with only its eyes and nose showing. It possesses long claws and can extend its neck with lightning speed to bite with jaws powerful enough to crush bone.
Read more about this fantastic creature on the WWF website.