We hope that each of you, our readers, will enjoy and appreciate this article we present about these 4 Remarkable Reptiles of Australia. It was our pleasure to gather the information for you. May it provide you with both education and increased awareness.
Certainly, these few species listed herein represent only a portion of the similar marvels in this region. It’s our belief, though, that they serve as excellent representations of the wonders that exist. Check out some of our other articles for similar marvels.
Mary River Turtle
Mary River Turtle Facts
- Starting off this article about these 4 Remarkable Reptiles of Australia we present you the freshwater species named the Mary River Turtle.
- This intriguing product of Nature and evolution most frequently goes by the somewhat informative common name due to its range. For the moment, unlike many of its brethren, the remarkable reptile has no other generally accepted general name.
- Scientific professionals, such as researchers, however, most often refer to it by the its formal scientific name. That, though, is the less easily pronounced term of Elusor macrurus. Regardless of the name used, however, it remains a most unusual creature.
- The researchers John Cann and John Legler hold the distinction of making the first formal recognition of the animal as a separate and distinct species. This scientifically noteworthy action, however, only occurred in very recent time, in the year 1994, in fact.
- Lamentably, though, the impressive Mary River Turtle does not appear to have either a large or extensively spread population base. Due to this, the IUCN presently lists the animal as Endangered. That status currently appears on the organization’s Red List.
- Given the nature and location of its known habitat range, habitat loss understandably poses a very serious threat to the continued existence of the Mary River Turtle. The greatest danger it faces, though, most likely consists of the effects of climate change.
Mary River Turtle Physical Description
The eye-catching Mary River Turtle clearly draws the attention of those who encounter it. It actually has several characteristics that make it an intriguing reptile. Most people consider its sheer appearance, however, to be its most astonishing physical feature.
The sheer size of the turtle also deserves mention, though. In fact, while no giant, it represents one of the largest of all turtles in its region of the world. Like many related creatures, it further displays a marked degree of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism.
In its case, however, the males of the species typically attain a greater size than their female counterparts. Among many turtles, the opposite pattern holds true. Males reach an average 16.5 in (42 cm) in carapace length, and an impressive weight of 12.1 lb (5.44 kg).
The females of the remarkable species, meanwhile, usually reach carapace lengths of only around 13.4 in (34 cm), and weights of about 7.7 lb (3.5 kg). Exceptional specimens of both genders do occasionally occur, however. Some measure up to 19.7 in (50 cm).
Otherwise the genders appear indistinguishable. The carapace generally has an elongatged shape. Overall color, meanwhile, tends to be combinations of shades of reddish-brown to black. Some individuals also develop growths of algae on their heads!
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Chelidae
- Genus: Elusor
- Species: E. macrurus
Mary River Turtle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Unfortunately, both for the Mary River Turtle itself, as well as those of us who appreciate Nature, it has an extremely restricted habitat range. For now, the magnificent animal only appears to live in one tiny segment of the always fascinating continent of Australia.
Even there, however, the unusual reptile seems to be limited to only one highly specific region. The name itself actually supplies a hint of that location. That’s because the known habitat of the Endangered reptile consists of the small Mary River, in southeast Queensland.
Yet, even within this already highly limited zone of habitation, the turtle displays very specific preferences in terms of where it lives. Virtually all known specimens make their home in regions of strongly flowing, well oxygenated sections of the river and its streams.
Researchers currently know very little about the ecology of this marvel of Nature. Those studying the species do know, however, that although it spends most of its time in the water, it makes its nests on land. These rarely appear very far from the water, though.
Like most of its relatives, it does appear that it evolved as an omnivorous creature. Among the vegetation it consumes, algae seems to predominate its choices. Its animal prey, meanwhile, largely consists of such small choices as molluscs and other small species.
The lifespan of the Mary River Turtle remains undetermined, for the moment. Interestingly, though, females tend to reach physical maturity slightly faster than the males. Females attain this state in approximately 25 years, but males typically take roughly 30 years.
Saltwater Crocodile Facts
- Next up in this compilation of 4 Remarkable Reptiles of Australia comes the physically impressive creature known as the Saltwater Crocodile.
- This magnificent work of Nature and evolution most frequently goes by its informative common name we’ve used herein. That term, however accurate, isn’t the only name applied to it, however. In point of fact, several others are sometimes used.
- The alternate names themselves also often provide clues to its nature. These include such terms as the Indo-Pacific crocodile, esturarine crocodile, sea crocodile, and marine crocodile. The animal’s also sometimes informally referred to as the saltie.
- Professional researchers, meanwhile, typically refer to the creature by its scientific name. That’s the technical name of Crocodylus porosus. Regardless of which name one chooses to use when referring to it, though, it’s an especially impressive crocodilian.
- The renowned German naturalist Johann Gottlob Theanenus Schneider made the first formal recognition of the reptile. The well known researcher acknowledged this incredible example of evolution as a separate and distinct species in the year 1801.
- The animal appears, for the moment, at least, to be maintiaing a population base that’s both stable and sufficient. That further seems to hold true throughout the entirety of its range. The IUCN therefore, presently lists the reptile as Least Concern on its Red List.
- The amazing Saltwater Crocodile nevertheless faces dangers that could potentially threaten it in the future. Habitat loss poses a potential threat, due to human expansion. The ongoing process of climate change, however, likely condstitutes its greatest threat.
Saltwater Crocodile Physical Description
Sheer size alone isn’t the only trait of the Saltwater Crocodile that impresses those who view the creature. That characteristic nonetheless certainly does bear mentioning. That’s because this species presently constitutes the largest of all currently known crocodilians.
The species also, like many of its relatives, displays a degree of the physiological characteristic of sexual dimorphism. In its specific case, though, this ranks as particularly severe. That’s due to the fact that the males attain a length roughly twice that of females.
The significantly longer males reach an average legnth measuring about 20 ft (6 m). Exceptional specimens, however, sometimes attain lengths of as much as 23 ft (7 m). The males further reach a weight that averages approximately 1,000 lbs (453.6 kg).
Females of the species, meanwhile, only attain an average length measuring approximately 10 ft (3 m). Even the exceptional individuals rarely exceed this by much. Sheer mass, however, remains starkly contrasted, with females rarely exceeding 330 lb (150 kg)!
While rare indivuals exceed these weights in both genders, the two sexes remain otherwise virtually indistinguishable in simple appearance. Its snout also develops wider than most related species. A pair of ridges also extends the length of the snout, from the eyes.
The body of the Saltwater Crocodile further differs from most others in its girth. Its body develops as much stouter in form. In coloring, most adults manifest a dark, greenish-drab shade. A few light gray or tan areas sometimes appear, however, in various spots.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Crocodilia
- Family: Crocodylidae
- Genus: Crocodylus
- Species: C. porosus
Saltwater Crocodile Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Fortunately, the remarkable Saltwater Crocodile evolved as native to a comparatively broad swathe of the globe. Interestingly, furthermore, that range roughly straddles the equator. It further does so, by random chance, almost equally across both hemispheres.
This animal appears as far north as the eastern coast of the country of India. From there, its range extends through Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Vietnam, to name a few. That range extends as far south as northern Australia.
Wherever it makes an appearance, though, it displays highly specific preferences in terms of habitat. That’s because the remarkable crocodilian makes its home solely along the coastline. Individuals do, however, occasionally swim far out to sea, outside their range.
Most specimens spend the vast majority of their time inhabiting very specific habitat types. These principally consist of river deltas and mangrove swamps. In some regions, the incredible animal also migrate to warmer parts of its range during the local winter season.
The Saltwater Crocodile also differs from most of its kin in yet another manner. Although most crocodilains live as social creatures, this species mainly lives a solitary life. Most individuals, especially the males, further exhibit extremely strong territorial drives.
It also spends much of its time in a lethargic state. This allows it to survive for months at a time without feeding. When it does feed, however, it does so strictly as a carnivore, like other crocodiles. It further represents an apex predator throughout most areas of its range.
Mangrove Monitor Facts
- Next up among our choices for inclusion in this listing of 4 Remarkable Reptiles of Australia we give you the fabulous Mangrove Monitor.
- This majestic creation of Nature is most frequently known by the descriptive common name for wholly proper reasons . It also has a few other, less often used titles. Those include such terms as the mangrove goanna and Western Pacific monitor lizard.
- Scientific professionals, however, tend to refer to the creature by its official moniker. Thankfully, that’s a comparatively simple name for the layperson to pronounce. That’s because this remarkable reptile holds the formal name of Varanus indicus.
- The noted French zoologist, François Marie Daudin, holds the distinction of being the first person to formally acknowledge it as a separate and distinct species, in 1802. He, however, gave it a different name. It first bore the title Tupinambis indicus.
- Later research changed that to the moniker applied today. This took time, though, due to ongoing research and new insights into its place in evolution. The intriguing lizard eventually acquired the appellation it holds now roughly 100 years later.
- No matter what one calls it, the Mangrove Monitor seems to be maintaining a population base that’s both sufficient and stable. That pleasant trend also appears to hold true throughout the entirety of its range. The IUCN thus lists it as Least Concern.
- It nevertheless does faces some potential threats to its continued existence as a species. Most of these stem from the actions of humans. In some regions, it’s actively hunted for its flesh and skin. Its greatest peril, however, likely comes from climate change.
Mangrove Monitor Physical Description
The magnificent Mangrove Monitor easily merits the admiration and appreciation of those who encounter it. Its visual appeal certainly plays a factor in that, of course. Yet, its sheer physical dimensions also help the reptile to acquire that same degree of notice.
That’s true since the reptile achieves some very respectable measurements. One gender of the intriguing species especially does so. That’s true since the fascinating animal displays a strong degree of the physiological characteristic known as sexual dimorphism.
In its case, this trait manifests itself in terms of pure physical size. More specifically, males attain a significantly greater size than their female counterparts. This situation commonly occurs among its kindred, but few display the principl to quite this degree.
Mature males of the lizard grow to lengths equaling between 3.5 – 4 ft (1.1 – 1.2 m). It must be noted, however, that the majority of that’s tail, which usually measures almost twice the length of the body! Males also reach weights of as much as 4.2 lb (1.9 kg).
Females of the Mangrove Monitor reach much shorter lengths, though. They also evolved as slimmer in body shape. These tend to be only around half the length of their counterparts. Being less stocky than males, they generally only weigh around 1.1 lb (0.5 kg).
It also displays an interesting coloring. Both genders show either a black or dark green background onthe upper part of the body. The stomach, though, tends to be a cream color, without markings. Golden-yellow spots on a lighter background show on the top of the head.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Varanidae
- Genus: Varanus
- Species: V. indicus
Mangrove Monitor Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The gorgeous Mangrove Monitor evolved as native to a reasonably large region of the world. The general area, though, likely won’t surprise many people. That’s true since it developed as endemic to a range that occurs entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, south of Asia.
More precisely, its known native zone of habitation for the amazing species extends from northern Australia and New Guinea to the Solomon Islands. Within that territory, it appears in scattered regions. That’s partly because it lives on literally hundreds of islands.
Within that broad range, though, it displays decided preference in its choice of habitat. Its very name supplies a clear indication of the nature of those preferences, to be certain. As evidenced by that title, it mainly lives in regions comprising dense mangrove forests.
Yet this marvel of Nature also lives in other, very similar locations within its range. These include areas of damp forests close to coastal rivers, and even permanent inland lakes. It’s one of only two known varieties of monitor lizard capable of surviving in such a habitat.
The Mangrove Monitor achieves that due to its having salt-excreting nasal glands. These allow it to survive there, and even consume marine prey. It thus feeds opportunistically, and as a pure carnivore. It consumes such prey as insects, rodents, crustaceans, among others.
Males fight fiercely for females during mating season. Following mating, though, the female lays 2 – 12 eggs that hatch in seven to eight months. In captivity, the remarkable creature lives for up to 20 years. Currently, though, its lifespan in the wild remains undetermined.
Flatback Sea Turtle
Flatback Sea Turtle Facts
- Finishing up this compendium of 4 Remarkable Reptiles of Australia is the marine species typically called the Flatback Sea Turtle.
- The gorgeous creature with the highly descriptive common name represents one of only seven known species of marine turtle. The renowned American herpetologist Samuel Garman became the first scientist to officially describe it, in 1880.
- In contrast to its common name, the amazing reptile also bears the tongue-twisting scientific name of Natator tessellatus. Sadly, its situation is unfortunate. The country within whose borders the beautiful reptile lives presently lists the animal as Vulnerable.
- But, in some respects, it may actually be the least threatened of all known sea turtles. This surprising statement holds true for several reasons. Firstly, it never strays far from the shore. Therefore, it does not become caught in fishing nets.
- Secondly, and thankfully, very little demand for its meat exists among humans. For the moment, though, the IUCN lacks enough data to determine its conservation status. Therefore, the organization currently lists it as Data Deficient on its Red List.
- However, the Flatback Sea Turtle does currently represent the only marine turtle with a highly restricted range. As a result, if for no other reason, the magnificent reptile may be considered to be at some risk, due to the effects of climate change.
Flatback Sea Turtle Physical Description
Regardless of its beauty, the Flatback Sea Turtle ranks as moderate-sized among the seven known types of marine turtle. On average, this species constitutes the third smallest of the seven. Nevertheless, sizes frequently vary quite significantly among individuals.
The animal also displays a moderate degree of the characteristic of sexual dimorphism. In its case, this results in mature females being slightly larger than their male counterparts. In addition, the males also typically develop a slightly shorter tail than the female.
Otherwise, both genders of the truly fabulous Flatback Sea Turtle remain visually identical to the untrained observer. The average length of the carapace of the animal equals 30 – 38 in (76 – 96 cm). Adults also attain an average weight of between 155 – 200 lb (70 – 90 kg).
Its shell is what most notably distinguishes it from related species, however. The dome of the carapace has a distinctly flattened shape. This shell also has sharply upturned edges to it. This shell also presents a mottled pattern consisting of shades of gray and olive green.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Cheloniidae
- Genus: Natator
- Species: N. depressus
Flatback Sea Turtle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The wondrous Flatback Sea Turtle inhabits only one specific portion of the world. Unfortunately, this also qualifies as a highly limited range of habitation. That’s because the fascinating creature only lives within the coastal waters of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
In addition to other problems created, this gives it the smallest habitat range of any marine turtle, by far. It also exhibits decided preferences for its specific habitat requirements. In this, it displays a trait common among its related species around the world.
It appears only in areas consisting of shallow tropical sub-tropical waters, with soft bottoms. It also lives only in shallow depths. In fact, it only dwells in waters with a depth of no more than 200 ft (60 m). This generally includes areas of lagoons, bays, and estuaries.
Research shows that the breathtaking Flatback Sea Turtle mates at sea. The females, however, come ashore to lay their eggs. These she does so in large numbers. Meanwhile, males of the species never leave the sea after reaching it, following their hatching.
Although technically omnivorous, it primarily feeds as a carnivore. The creature feeds mainly on such prey as shrimp, sea cucumbers, jellyfish, and a variety of small mollusks. Mature individuals face few predators, but those mainly consists of sharks.
4 Remarkable Reptiles of Australia
We hope that each of you enjoyed reading, and hopefully learning from, this article we’ve written about these 4 Remarkable Reptiles of Australia. It’s also our hope that doing so has left you with either a new or renewed appreciation for such wonders of Nature.
Unfortunately, however, many of their kindred around the world now find themselves facing strong threats to their continued existence as a species. Many of those dangers, in fact, stem from the actions of mankind. We must do all we can to protect and preserve them all.