Despite its relatively small size, reported observations of the Ganges soft-shelled turtle paint a picture of a voracious and skilled predator. This turtle sometimes feeds in large groups, one of which has even been seen attacking, killing and feasting on a Nilgai antelope (Boselaphus tragocamelus) in a canal in India (5). However, an attack on such a large animal is probably a rare occurrence, and the omnivorous Ganges soft-shelled turtle spends more time eating aquatic plants and a large variety of smaller animals, such as fish, molluscs, insects, amphibians, and waterfowl (2). Animal carcasses, which are frequently dumped in the rivers it inhabits, are also fed upon, resulting in this turtle being called a ‘waterlogged vulture’ (5).
Mating activity in the Ganges soft-shelled turtle occurs in shallow waters during the monsoon season (September to February). Courtship is thought to begin with the male producing low, hoarse, cackling sounds to attract the female, and once an interested female has been found, the male swims around the female in decreasingly small circles before mounting. This courtship ritual lasts approximately four to five minutes. Whilst mounted, both the male and female float with their heads protruding from the water in order to breathe, as copulation can continue for up to 50 minutes (2).
Nesting occurs any time between May and January, although there is a peak in activity between December and January. The female burrows into a sandy river banks, digging a flask-shaped nest cavity into which is laid a clutch of between 8 and 47 eggs. Incubation lasts for between 251 and 310 days and the hatchlings emerge around July (2).