The Eastern Snake-Necked Turtle is a shy but active inland turtle found in Eastern Australia
Its scientific name is Chelodina longicollis and it's other common names are the
Common Snake-Necked Turtle
Eastern Long Neck Tortoise
The two most striking features of this turtle is
1) black lines or seams on its underside plates "plastron"
2) its long neck, can be as long as its "carapace" top shell
The top oval shaped shell is normally around 250mm long and is relatively flat and smooth
The general colour of the Eastern snake neck turtle is light brown to black on the top shell and a creamish lower shell and black seams as already mentioned
Its large web feet make swimming easier and the front feet have strong claws
These turtles are found in inland slow moving fresh water such as dams, billabongs, swamps, rivers etc, in the east of Australia (see map)
They love soft sand for the bottom of their aquatic homewaters, and rocks or logs nearby to lie around on
Not every year but often in summer (December -February) these turtles will migrate looking for new bodies of water
To survive drought conditions, individuals will bury themselves in any left over mud or soil in what was the deepest part of the dam, waterhole etc
Defence (Smell & Neck retraction)
The Eastern snake necked turtle emits a unpleasant offensive smelling fluid when handled, or when it wishes to frighten off predators
This fluid comes from "musk glands". It also retracts its head by a sideways movement, tucking its head and neck in sideways under its shell
Eastern Snake necked turtles are carnivorous (meat eaters).
They feed on such animals as insects, worms, tadpoles, frogs, yabbies, small fish, crustaceans etc
By holding its neck sideways it gets close enough, that when it straightens out and extends its neck it can capture its prey (striking like a snake)
Larger prey is broken up by the powerful claws on its front feet
The female turtle lays her eggs (anywhere from 4 up to 2 dozen), in the bank of their aquatic habitat, well above the waterline, burying them in soil, by using their hind feet and the weight of dropping the rear of their body weight onto the soil.
The eggs are long, pointy and hard shelled.
Approximately 3 to 5 months later the hatchlings emerge usually after rain has soften the soil above the nesting chamber, and scuttle to the water under the safety of darkness
Their colourings differ from the adults by having a red or orange underbelly (plastron)
Females may have 1 to 3 clutches a year