Skip to content

Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle

Chitra indica


The narrow-headed softshell turtle is an incredibly large species of turtle, often reaching more than 110 cm in carapace length!

The narrow-headed softshell turtle is one of three species in the genus Chitra. Together, these three species diverged from all other living turtles more than 40 million years ago, around the same time humans last shared a common ancestor with tamarins and capuchin monkeys.

This strange turtle is threatened by the international pet trade and harvesting for food. Their eggs are easily harvested from the beaches where they are laid. The construction of dams has led to the frequent flooding and sabotage of their nesting sites.

The narrow-headed softshell turtle is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List. It is also listed on CITES appendix II to combat international trade.

  • Order: Testudines
  • Family: Trionychidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 110cm
  • Weight: 202kg

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.70 (?)
ED Score: 36.278 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This species is found in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan

Habitat and Ecology

This species is found submerged in sandy bottoms of deep rivers. Females lay their eggs on sandy beaches. A large clutch, comprising 65–193 eggs, around 26.8 mm in diameter and 10.4 g in mass, are laid at the height of the monsoons in central India, while nesting in northern India, Bangladesh, and Nepal takes place during the low water season.

Find out more