There’s something in the water

If you’ve heard a soft plop during a stroll by a lake or a pond, but don’t know who or what made it, the culprit you’re looking for is the highly elusive Sri Lankan Flapshell Turtle. This smooth shelled reptilian puts Olympic divers to shame, with its no-ripple, perfect entry into water! Even if you don’t startle it, it's hard to spot because of its state-of-the-art dull brown and maroon camouflage shell, which blends in perfectly to its muddy surroundings. Wow, what an escape artist, you may exclaim! But wait, it has one more trick up its… shell. It can rapidly burrow into the mud or sand with its clawed and webbed feet so quickly that it seems like it disappeared into thin air!

Fun Facts

Although categorised as a freshwater turtle, this rebellious master-of-disguise can also be found in brackish water. Driven by an appetite that does not discriminate, this turtle goes almost anywhere where it can get at fish, amphibians, water snakes, half-eaten prey and even small birds too! You can often spot these voracious feeders by looking out for their snouts protruding above water, much like a crocodile, scanning and sniffing for their next meal!

Story of the Photo

This little fellow was soaking up the sun to regulate his temperature, as reptiles do, at Kudapethessa Lake in Wilpattu National Park, totally oblivious to Dilum snapping away with his camera!

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