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A turtle by any other name…

Indian Pond Terrapin, Kabini -

So what’s in a name? After all, a turtle is a tortoise is a terrapin! But not if you were Australian. Down under, they only have tortoises, irrespective of where they’re from. In America, tortoises own the land and all aquatic tenants are called turtles. The British, finicky as ever, have the naming down to an exact science. While the landed gentry are true blue tortoises, the others have to wait till the waters have been tested (or tasted). Even a hint of salt means they’re turtles, while freshwater denizens like those featured above, are no less than terrapins. The ‘Indian Pond Terrapin’ doesn’t have an identity crisis though. Since he doesn’t mind being called names, he also responds if we were to call him an ‘Indian Black Turtle’. He could show off his wholly webbed feet and make a point about how this distinguishes him from tortoises, but he’s too good natured to do so. All he wants is his rightful place in the sun, to bask in the warmth of the early rays and the company of his fellow terrapins. In fact, he’s known to be so social and generous that he even allows his comrades to park on top of him, to catch the life giving rays first. Once he’s drunk his fill of sunshine, he slips away beneath the waters, to chill out till nightfall, which is when he sets out to dine at his vegetarian buffet. Don’t be too perturbed if you aren’t invited to dinner, for this is a very shy lad indeed. Perhaps the best way to make his acquaintance is to send him flowers from your part of the world. After all, like the Bard of Avon said long ago, a Rose by any other name smells as sweet.


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