Abstract

A 2-year study was conducted on the forest cane turtle, Vijayachelys silvatica, in Chalakudy District, Kerala, South India. This is a poorly known species, endemic to the Western Ghats of Southern India. The aims of the study were to ascertain morphometrics, sex ratios, and reproductive data in the field. Female Vijayachelys were more massive than males and significantly larger in all the characters examined, except for straight-line carapace length. The sex ratio among adult individuals was 47 males to 36 females (1.31∶1), which did not differ significantly from 1∶1. The greatest number of turtles was found in October and the fewest in May. Mating was observed in the months of June, September, and November and oviposition in January and February. Clutch size was 2 eggs in most cases. Turtles were observed to feed on snails, mushrooms, centipedes, and beetles living in the molding leaf litter and humus. Almost all turtles had algae on their shells.

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