CHINESE SOFT-SHELL TURTLE
Image by Okinawa Soba (Rob)
GOOD BYE, and GOOD LUCK.
I caught this Chinese Soft-Shell Turtle last night, after almost running it over with my car as it crossed a main road in OKINAWA CITY.
Leathery Shell length = 8 inches / 20 centimeters. When he stuck his head out (holy smokes!) he was almost twice as long !
Having never seen a turtle like this, I had no idea what it was. When I got home, I ran it against Sean Miller’s OKINAWA NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY images on Flickr, and soon made the hit :
The turtles loud attempts to escape it’s box drove my dog crazy for most of the night, and my wife wanted nothing to do with it — Her recommendations :
(1) Take it to the nearest slaughter house, and…
(2) Turn it into a bowel of Soup.
Having taken a liking to this leather-bound lubber with a snorkle-y snout, I decided on option No. (3) — return him to the wild.
Seeking advice from Sean Miller (Okinawa’s resident Wild Man…. er, the man who truly understands Okinawa’s wild life) I let the turtle go in the HIJA RIVER that runs between KADENA and YOMITAN.
My daughter went with me to see him off.
The above photo (illuminated with a single 1000-limen LED, and not the camera’s flash) shows him giving me one last look before he dove into the water weeds growing along the river bank.
Although he’s not doing it in this photo, he can stick his neck out almost as long as his body. I saw him do it several times.
Although the sun has already set, the water still shows as fading blue under the twilight sky.
HERE’S A DAYTIME VIEW OF THE SPOT WHERE I LET HIM GO :
WIKI ENTRY FOR THIS GUY :
It turns out that there are LOTS of pictures of this interesting turtles, including many variants of shells and markings… and, Soup :
♥ A TYPICAL STORY FROM THIS PART OF THE WORLD CONCERNING THE "BIG BROTHER COUSIN" OF MY LITTLE SOFT-SHELL TURTLE :
"……The 220-pound (100-kilogram) freshwater giant — the critically endangered Yangtze giant softshell turtle which spends most of its life burrowing in mud — was once common in its namesake Yangtze River, China’s Lake Taihu and Yunnan Province, and parts of Vietnam.
By the late 1990s, however, human encroachment and poaching for use of the shells in Chinese traditional medicine rapidly depleted the population. Now, a total of four animals are known—two wild males in Vietnam and the mating pair at Suzhou Zoo……"