Things you may not know about the Mary River turtle
APRIL 12, 2018
The Mary River turtle is one of our most punk-rock species and has a number of unusual features that make it evolutionarily unique. Heres everything you need to know.
Mary River turtles begin life as a tiny hatching of approximately three to four centimetres in size, but grow to be one of Australias largest freshwater turtle species.
A Mary River turtle breathes through its cloaca, a part of their genitals, which allows them to stay under water for up to three days.
Due to their docile nature, thousands of tiny hatchings were sold old as penny turtles, throughout the 1960s and 70s. It was not known that they belonged to a species found in only one river in the world.
Often seen sporting a green mohawk, the Mary River turtle supports local algae life, with strands of green algae seen growing on their heads, shell, and various other body parts.
Mary River turtles take a long time to reach sexual maturity, not breeding before they reach 25 years of age.
The Mary River turtle has a unique tail that makes it the subject of great interest across both Australia and the world.
This spectacular tail contains a number of bones that form a hook, and features a deep cavity lined with gill-like structures that extract oxygen from water.
Using its unique abilities, these turtles can remain submerged for up to three days at a time and have been given the appropriate title of bum-breathers.
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