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Hello, I bought two small hatchling turtles from my local pet shop. I asked them about turtle's breed but they couldn't say anything. I find it necessary to know about their breed because there are some dangerous and endangered turtles. I am sending some close pictures of my turtles. Hope you'll help me to identify them. Thank you very much. I live in Kolkata, India.

Hi Paul,

Turtles aren't domesticated, so don't have breeds, but rather species.  My best guess for the species you have is Pangshura tecta (Indian roofed turtle), but we don't often have Indian species here so I can't be 100% certain.  It would be best if you did your own research and tried to find someone in your country who can give you a positive ID, just to be sure.  It's vital that you know what species you have, so you can care for them properly.  I guarantee that whatever advice you were given by the shop owner is wrong.  If you don't know how to care for them, they will get sick, and since there don't seem to be reptile vets in India, if they get sick you're in trouble.  So you need to research to find out proper care.  I can give you some general information, but can't help you with supplies in India.

You need a large tank.  For hatchlings, about a 40 gallon would be OK for a few year, but as adult these turtles will probably need 100 gallons (or an outside pond).  You need a good filter that can handle at least twice the tank's capacity.  They need a basking area of about 90 degrees F and a swimming area of 76-78 F.  They need a source of UVB (artificial sunlight) when indoors--this is a specialty reptile bulb, and I don't know where you can get one in India, but it's vital to their health.  They won't grow properly without it.  And they need a varied diet that includes both animal protein and vegetable matter (greens, etc.) as well as pellets.  The shop owner probably told you to feed them dried shrimp or something similar, and that won't be enough.  They need a lot of variety.  The tank needs to be kept as clean as possible, with regular partial water changes.  

Here are some links for general care, but again, this is in the US and I don't know availability in India.

Finally, turtles are not dangerous.  Some will bite if threatened, but if they are handled carefully and respectfully this is not a problem.  Man is certainly far, far more dangerous to turtles than the other way around.  


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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