Friday, November 25, 2011

Vietnam’s biggest turtles

The yellow "Turtle queen" in Long An province.

The male turtle is 86cm long, 50cm wide and 30cm thick. Its head is as big as a mango, and its feet are the same size as an adult human’s calves.

Hai owns another turtle that weighs 20 kilos, a female. The two turtles have yellowish shells, which are very different from turtles living in freshwater in the northern area, which have black shells.

The two giant turtles are being raised in a pool at Hai’s house, where they are fed several kilos of fish every day.

Dang Van Duyen, Hai’s father, who has raised thousands of snapping turtles for over 20 years, said that he has never seen such big turtles in his life, and the two must be rare for their species.

Duyen added that there is a possibility that the 45-kilo turtle is the largest in the world.

Many families in Song Ma town are raising turtles of the same species.

The 22kg turtle caught by Nguyen Ba Toan in Hanoi last month.

Previously, a 22-kilo turtle caught under Chuong Duong Bridge in Hanoi last month by 60-year-old Nguyen Ba Toan was sold to a Chinese man for over US$8,500.

In January 2009, Mr. Duong Van Ro in Mo Cay district, Ben Tre province, caught a 55cm long, 23kg turtle, which was reported by the Vietnam News Agency. Ro sold the giant turtle for VND10 million.

There are two famous turtles in Long An province, one is black and one is yellow. They are called “Turtle queens” because this is an especially rare species, named Trionyx Cartilagineus.

This species can weigh up to 70-80kg and live for over 100 years. The black turtle is 26 years old, 34kg and the yellow turtle is 25 years old, 33kg.

The yellow turtle is the rarest in Vietnam and the world. This turtle was caught in a field by a farmer in Phung Hiep District, Hau Giang province 25 years ago. At that time, the turtle was only 600-700gr in weight.

The two giant turtles in Son La: