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Beware of the pointy ends

November 29, 2022

Eastern Long-necked Turtles (Chelodina longicollis), alternatively known as Snake-necked Turtles are one of 23 species of turtles in Australia (we don’t have any Australian tortoises). During the hot summer months these turtles bury themselves in the mud of dried up water bodies but heavy rain triggers them to migrate over land to find new food sources. Given our current weather it is no surprise then that recently turtles have been on the move – lots of them.

Long-necked turtles can be found in slow moving or still water bodies. A quick trip along the Goulburn River at the moment where a many billabongs have be filled by the recent flooding  will reveal many turtles either floating on the surface or sunning themselves on nearby logs (see photo below).

The turtle’s life is not all sun and swimming. In their moves to greener pasture they are often killed crossing roads as they are very slow moving and their colour makes them hard for drivers to see. ‘Helping’ a turtle cross the road is fraught with dangers for the uninitiated. Turtles are carnivorous eating  fish, frogs, tadpoles and yabbies using  there sharp claws to capture and then tear apart the prey and even though humans are not in their diet they can deliver a painful nip if picked up incorrectly.

If annoyed long-necks can also emit an offensive spray from the anus so when picking up a turtle, orientation is everything. Beware of the pointy ends!

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