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Tiny turtle !

November 17, 2012

Not content with, or perhaps inspired by, finding Strath Creek’s first Striped Legless Lizard on their property, Neil, Kay and the kids have now sent in a report and photos of another rather unusual find, which looks to us like a hatchling Eastern Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis) (post a comment below if we’ve got it wrong!).  Neil dismissed it as a plastic toy when he first saw it while mowing, but the girls insisted it was alive. After inspecting and photographing it, they released it into their nearby dam, and  last seen it was happily swimming around, diving and occasionally coming up for air. They were most impressed by the lovely orange/black colouring on the plastron (belly shell), typical of juveniles of this species.

It is not uncommon to come across adult Eastern Snake-necked (or Long-necked) Turtles wandering overland, not always near water, and sometimes perilously across roadways. It’s worth knowing they can release a pungent smell when handled! Females lay up to 24 eggs (usually 6-10) in a hole dug close to water and cover them up, leaving the hatchlings to fend for themselves. The main breeding season is in early summer with a usual incubation period of about 3-5 months, so this little turtle must have been the result of a second breeding event in autumn or a particularly long incubation. It is certainly quite young, having been the size of a 10 cent piece at birth. If it survives it has a long road ahead; maturity is reached after about 10 years, and longevity in the wild is reported to be up to 35 years and some accounts estimate up to 80 years!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris Hanby permalink
    August 30, 2013 1:08 pm

    Found one of these Tiny Turtles in our dam on Junction Hill Flowerdale

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