December 27, 2023
BANGKOK – A rare turtle and crab have been discovered at the Wang Pong-Chon Daen Non-Hunting area in Phetchabun province, signifying the abundance of the ecosystem there.
Officials spotted a female big-headed turtle while conducting a wildlife poaching survey last week.
“The officials caught a 14-centimetre-long turtle for examination before releasing it back to nature,” said the area’s chief Suphakorn Intharaprasit, adding that the discovery was very exciting.
Suphakorn noted that the big-headed turtle had a strong, sharp beak like a parrot, though it cannot retract its legs all the way into its shell. Its claws are strong enough to navigate obstacles in and around rivers and streams.
Generally active during the night and with limited movement range, this turtle sustains itself on a diet of fish, snails, worms, insects, crabs and molluscs. People have been advised to avoid touching the turtle’s shell as it can extend its neck and bite them.
In addition to the turtle, another recent find was the “Indochinamon Bhumibol” – a freshwater crab officially identified in 2021-2022.
This species is believed to be the largest freshwater crab in Thailand and the second largest globally, Suphakorn said.
He added that the discovery of the two species proved that the ecosystem in the non-hunting area is abundant and supportive enough for both wildlife and Phetchabun residents.
The Indochinamon Bhumibol, first discovered in Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary in Loei province in 1976, boasts distinctive dark brown, purple and orange hues.
Another unique characteristic is a mark on its shell resembling the Hindu deity “Garuda”. Endemic to Thailand, this freshwater crab can only be found in Loei and the boundary between Phetchabun and Chaiyaphum.