Mary River Turtle Facts
- The remarkable Mary River Turtle represents a highly unusual variety of reptile, as you can see for yourself.
- In addition to being rather different from many other turtles, it bears the distinction of not being identified until in 1994.
- Sadly, this distinctive species also has an extremely restricted range of habitation, making it quite vulnerable.
- Therefore, the IUCN currently lists it as Endangered, pending further information on its numbers.
- For the obvious reason, many people in its native region also know this fascinating animal as the green haired turtle.
Mary River Turtle Physical Description
In addition to its different appearance, the Mary River Turtle also ranks as one of the physically largest in its endemic range.
Multiple examples of this animal with a carapace length measuring as much as 20 in (50 cm) have been observed.
The carapace also grows elongated in comparison to related species. It also appears as either plain in color or with intricate patterns.
Also uniquely, the tail grows much longer than that of most other turtles. It often measures two-thirds the length of the carapace.
The most noticeable feature, however, remains the strands of green algae, resembling hair, that covers many specimens.
Finally, it also has the highly unusual, for a turtle, ability to breathe underwater, via special glands…located near the genitals.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Chelidae
- Genus: Elusor
- Species: E. macrurus
Mary River Turtle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Quite sadly, the sincerely fascinating Mary River Turtle also appears to only inhabit an extremely small portion of Australia.
There, the only known representatives of the species live in the Mary River, hence the name, in southeast Queensland.
Unfortunately, researchers currently have very little confirmed information about the ecology of this recently recognized species.
It inhabits regions of flowing water, and makes its nest on dry ground. In addition, individuals take longer to mature than many related turtles.
This reptile, like many others, also has an omnivorous diet. It commonly feeds on a wide variety of plants and small prey.