A Snake-Necked Turtle in Australia
The Australian snake-necked turtle is a rare species of turtle that is found in Australia. This particular species has a unique characteristic that makes it stand out from the rest – its head and neck are longer than the rest of its body.
What is a snake-necked turtle?
The snake-necked is a turtle that lives in the waters of Australia. It has a long neck, which is covered in scales.
The snake-necked has amazing anatomy, with a long and narrow head, short neck, and wide shoulders. Its legs are short and the shell is thin and lightweight. The head of the snake-necked turtle has no teeth, but it can bite with its beak or tongue.
How Do They Survive In Australia’s Wet Warm Climate?
Australian snake-necked turtles are one of the few species of turtles that can survive in Australia’s wet warm climate. Their unique physiology helps them to withstand the heat, and their ability to live in water also helps them survive the arid desert. There are only two species of snake-necked turtles in southern Australia. The Australian snake-necked turtle is the most widely distributed and the largest, growing to a length of up to 130 cm and weighing up to 16 kg.
Adult males have a “distinctive hooked ‘snake’ anterior head” that helps them to dislodge prey. The northern snake-necked turtle is the second-largest species, with a maximum size of 45 cm and weighing up to 1.8 kg, but it is also uncommonly found south of the Tropic of Capricorn. The northern snake-necked turtle’s head is rounded and not hooked as are most adult males’ heads. The northern snake-necked turtle is a “predator of small fish and aquatic invertebrates”.
They hunt by scaring their prey into suspension, then they swim rapidly to the side of the prey to grasp it with their teeth. Their diet consists primarily of fishes and crustaceans, which are eaten whole and are covered in the turtle’s stomach, intestines, and gizzard. When threatened, this turtle will often release a cloud of gas, releasing an odor that is unpleasant to predators. If cornered, the northern snake-necked turtle will often release a cloud of gas and try to escape. The northern snake-necked turtle’s carapace is dark gray with brown blotches.
What do they Eat?
Australian snake-necked are rare reptiles and they live in the tropical coastal rainforests of northern Australia. They are carnivorous and feed on small invertebrates, crabs, frogs, fish, snails, insects, and other smaller reptiles.
Australian snake-necked turtles have a unique way of eating that is unlike any other turtle species. They eat their prey by using their long neck to pull them into their mouth from the ground.
Threats to the snake-necked include habitat destruction from agriculture and road construction, and predation by native predators including feral cats, red foxes, raccoons, and snakes. For this reason, they are classified as critically endangered in Illinois.
Can you Keep Them as Pets in Australia?
In Australia, it is illegal to keep any wild animal as a pet. This includes snakes. However, there are some exceptions. One of them is the Australian snake-necked turtle which is not a true turtle but an aquatic reptile that has a hard shell on its back and neck and can grow up to 1 meter in length.
If you have an Australian snake-necked turtle in your care, you must ensure that it’s kept in one of the following enclosures:
* A purpose-built enclosure with natural ground cover and no water sources – these enclosures are designed for the long term care of turtles
* A properly vented aquarium – these enclosures are designed for short-term use only and should be used as temporary housing for newly acquired turtles only
* A plastic tub with at least 3 inches of sand (or a larger tub for larger turtles)A large plastic lid, to fit over the top of the tub