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Turtle spotting

February 16, 2016

IMG_2650You may have seen our local turtle species, the Eastern Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis) heading overland or perilously crossing the road, usually after heavy rain. But in the water it is far more cryptic, and often all you see is its snout and eyes protruding above the water-line (see photo above), until it sinks to resume feeding on a range of aquatic creatures. Its long neck allows it to strike like a snake at fast-moving prey.

We have counted up to seven turtles of various sizes in our dam at present, and have had reports of larger numbers in the past in dams around the district. And they are not restricted to dams – during the recent Platypus Watch conducted along the King Parrot Creek by the Strath Creek Landcare Group, one was spotted in the creek where it flows through Coonans Reserve.

The Eastern Snake-necked Turtle is one of a number of freshwater turtle species that were previously known popularly as tortoises, a name that is now reserved for land-based tortoises such as the Galapagos Tortoise. There are no native land-tortoises in Australia.

To learn all about the Eastern Snake-necked Turtle and other turtles, you are invited to attend a Focus on Fauna talk by Graham Stockfeld next Friday evening (19th February) starting at 7.30pm in the Strath Creek Hall. Click on the link to the flyer Talking about Turtles for full details, and we ask that you RSVP if you plan to come along.

In the meantime, why not spend a while beside a dam or creek – it’s quite likely a pair of nostrils and beady eyes will break the surface near you!

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