Emydura macquarii

Description

The Murray River Turtle also known as the Macquarie turtle or Murray short-necked turtle, has a shell that is predominantly medium to dark brown above, cream coloured below. The male has a much fatter and longer tail than the female. The skin is greyish and there is a distinctive creamy-yellow stripe running back along the side of the head from the corner of the mouth. The eyes are small and yellow with a round black pupil.

Size

The Murray River Turtle can grow to around 30cm in length.

Food

Feeds on mostly molluscs and crustaceans but will also consume carrion. Adults tend to eat a large proportion of vegetable matter such as fruits and water plants.

Habitat

Commonly inhabits the Murray-Darling River system in south-eastern Australia, but can be found in larger rivers and permanent lakes in this region.

Distribution

It is found primarily in the Murray River Basin and all its major tributaries, along with a number of coastal rivers up the New South Wales Coast. It is also found in the coastal Queensland Rivers and the Cooper Creek Ecosystem, along with Fraser Island.

Breeding

In spring and summer about ten elongated eggs are laid in a burrow close to the river. They hatch about eighty days later. The eggs and newborn hatchlings face a long list of predators that includes goannas, rats, foxes, birds, cats and wild pigs. Adult turtles have few natural enemies.