Eastern Long Necked Turtle ( Chelodina longicollis)
The Eastern Long Necked Turtle is regularly seen in summer in our area in dams and creeks and quite often crossing the roads on a hot day. If caught and picked up, it will emit a very strong defensive odour to quickly deter any predators.
The Long neck Turtle is predominantly a carnivore, feeding on insects other invertebrates, yabbies and small fish. It is also, not uncommon for them to eat their own hatchlings.
The males tend to be smaller than the females and have a slightly concave plastron (under shell) which allows them greater stability when mating with the female turtle. The female can lay up to 24 eggs in Spring, which then take 3 – 4 months to incubate. Often the hatchlings emerge after a heavy rain shower. The mortality rate in hatchlings is high as not only are they at risk of being eaten by adult turtles but also from, birds and even large fish.
If you happen to find a turtle crossing the road and it is safe to stop, give him a helping hand and carry him or her across to the side in the direction he was heading , as too many are senselessly run over by inconsiderate drivers.
They will thank you for it, (even if it is with a dose of foul smelling spray)
By Steve Junghenn