QUESTION: Hello. I have 10 Indian Roofed Turtles. 6 large size (about 3-4 inches long), 2 medium size (about 2 inches) and 2 small size (about 1 inch). I brought them from local pet shop. Now I want to release them in a large local government pond. The pond has green water and there are fishes in that pond. But no one fishes there. If I release them there will all of them get food ? Is there a chance that the fishes will eat turtles ? Or which turtles should I release ? All , big ones, medium ones or small ones ? And if any pond's water is black will they get food there too ? My dad's returned home and he says we can't keep them anymore. I live in Dhaka, Bangladesh and there are no vets or animal rescue centers in my city. Please help me to free these animals.
ANSWER: Dear Dipto
Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_roofed_turtle says that The Indian roofed turtle is a common pet and lives in Bangladesh.
I don't think it's a good idea to release the turtles into the local government pond, unless the owners agree to it. The fishes may be ornamental and there could be conflict between the turtles and fishes.
I suggest that you contact the Zoology Department at the University of Dhaka (see http://www.du.ac.bd/academic/department_item_details/contact/ZOO
). The University has produced several papers about the turtle and should be able to advise you about places you can release your turtles. Turtles are versatile and they should be able to find food. Please note that Dhaka has a trade in turtle meat, so your turtles could be vulnerable if they are released in densely populated places of the city.
All the best
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks a lot for your clear answer. I myself have visited another government pond yesterday. That pond also has green water , fishes , insects and some trees around. I have read research papers about these turtles and the pond has all characteristics preferred by them. And most surprisingly I have seen some Indian Roofed Turtles in that pond. They were of different sizes. One was about the length of your knee from ground. Pretty big. And there were some of size of your feet. I think it's very clear that they have grown up in that pond because no one would release such big turtle in that pond because that whole area is highly restricted and protected. You can't even pass thru that area. And it's impossible to go near that pond without permission. So they are completely safe from humans. Now the question is should I release the very small ones (shell 1.5 inch exactly) ? Will they get food too ? Is there a chance that big ones will attack them or stop them from eating food ? Won't there be a competition in eating food ? And that pond has logs fallen from trees in water. Some turtles were sitting on it. And that pond has stairs near it but no one uses it. I can keep the small and medium ones until they get bigger. But won't it be better that they get a large space and get food to eat whenever they're hungry ? But if I keep the small ones won't they get used to human given food and take more time to adapt in natural condition ? The big ones (3.5 inch shell) eat only pellets and no fish or meat (or may be very little). But small and medium ones eat every kind of food offered. Small ones always grab hold of each other and if released with bigger turtles try to ride on their back. Will they be eaten or bitten by fishes ? Please tell me if I should release the small and medium ones (1.5 , 1.5 , 2 and 2.5 inch shell) ? Please reply soon I have to release them very quickly. Thanks again. Would be very grateful if my questions are fulfilled.
Thank you for your follow-up question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.
First of all, I suspect that a lot of turtle behaviour is instinctive, so I doubt if it will be difficult for your turtles to adapt to a natural diet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_roofed_turtle says the turtle eats aquatic plants, such as water hyacinths and weeds, and animal prey such as crabs and snails; it also scavenges. Younger turtles are more likely to have a carnivorous diet. http://careforturtles.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/5_18.html
says the related Indian tent turtle can be eaten by dogs, cats and kites. Please note that the younger turtles will be more at risk, but that is also the case with wild turtles.
Please contact staff in the government building and ask if you can release the turtles in the pond. If you are not allowed to visit the pond without permission, if you got caught putting turtles in the pond, you could be arrested for trespass or worse. It's not worth the risk.
Did you contact the Zoology Department at the University? I reckon the staff there would suggest a safe place to release the turtles; hopefully you could release all the turtles there.
I hope this helps
All the best