Animal Species:Eastern Snake-necked Turtle

The Eastern Snake-necked Turtle lives in freshwater environments and feeds on aquatic invertebrates, tadpoles and small fishes.

Eastern Snake-necked Turtle, from below

Schmida ©  Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Eastern Snake-necked Turtle

Alternative Name/s

Long-necked Tortoise, Stinker

Identification

As its name suggests, this turtle has a long neck, which is usually about half the length of its carapace (shell). It has webbed feet used for swimming and digging. The colour of the carapace varies through shades of brown.

The terms turtle and tortoise are often used interchangeably and can cause some confusion. In the past, all freshwater turtles were called tortoises and marine turtles were called turtles. The more recent convention has been to restrict the term 'tortoise' to the purely land-dwelling species. As such, Australia has no tortoises.

Size range

26 cm

Distribution

The Eastern Snake-necked Turtle is found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, south-eastern South Australia.

Habitat

The Eastern Snake-necked Turtle lives in freshwater habitats including wetlands.

Seasonality

Most of the Eastern Snake-necked Turtle's time is spent in the water, but it can make overland movements in search of new waterholes and nesting areas.

Feeding and Diet

The Eastern Snake-necked Turtle feeds on aquatic invertebrates, tadpoles and small fishes.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Also known by another common name of 'stinker', the Eastern Snake-necked Turtle can eject pungent liquid gland secretions from its 'armpits' and groin when handled or disturbed.

Life cycle

In summer, female Eastern Snake-necked Turtles dig holes in sand or in soft sediments along stream banks and lay about ten eggs.

Predators, Parasites and Diseases

The Eastern Snake-necked Turtle's eggs occasionally provide a meal for Water-rats and lizards. Hatchlings are eaten by fish and birds, and adults may be killed by cars while moving overland.

Classification

Species:
longicollis
Genus:
Chelodina
Family:
Chelidae
Subclass:
Testudinata
Class:
Reptilia
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?


Last Updated:

Tags turtles, tortoises, reptiles, vertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,

6 comments

Cecilie Beatson - 4.01 PM, 11 January 2011

Hi richard,

The Eastern Snake-necked Turtle is often found wandering overland long distances from any obvious bodies of water. In suburban areas they sometimes take up residence in freshwater drainage canals and in water hazards on golf courses, particularly if the water quality is reasonable and there’s lots of vegetation in and around the water to attract prey. As Eastern Snake-necks are found throughout Victoria the turtle in your yard is possibly a local resident rather than an escaped pet. If you live a highly built-up area and the turtle is in danger of getting squashed on the road, then taking it to a nearby wetland may be the best thing, or else you can contact a local wildlife rescue organisation to take care of it. Be aware that even if you release the turtle into safer habitat they often have their own idea of where they’re heading and may march straight back into danger!
Good luck, and watch out for the stink -
CB
richard - 1.01 PM, 11 January 2011
We have just had a long neck 'stinker' wander across our front lawn in suburbia ( VIC). Is it likely to have escaped from local captivity? Is delivering it to the local wet lands his best chance?
boy chutney - 4.06 PM, 22 June 2010
I believe that foxes are significant predators of turtle eggs, at least along the River Murray (see M Thompson 1983, Australian Wildlife Research 10:363-71).
Cecilie Beatson - 11.01 AM, 29 January 2010

Hi Darcy,

Eastern Snake-necked Turtles (Chelodina longicollis) in the wild are considered to be opportunistic carnivores and will tackle anything of an edible size, including insects, tadpoles, fish and small crustaceans such as freshwater shrimp. They will also readily consume carrion if given the chance.

All native reptiles (including turtles) are protected by law in NSW and a licence is required to keep captive-bred reptiles as pets. These licences are issued by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water - visit their webpage for more information http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/wildlifelicences/ReptileKeepersLicence.htm

CB.

Darcy - 7.01 PM, 20 January 2010
What do Eastern Snake-necked Turtles eat?
Darcy - 6.01 PM, 20 January 2010
Do you need a lience to keep a turtle in NSW

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