Chelodina – Snake-necked turtles

You might mistake these turtles for snakes!

A diverse group of long-necked turtles is distributed across Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. These turtles, often referred to as snake-necked turtles, are distinguished by their elongated necks, which are nearly as long as their shells. This unique physical adaptation is not merely for show; it plays a crucial role in their survival strategy. Utilizing their long necks, which they can swiftly extend, Chelodina turtles are adept at catching fish, mollusks, and crustaceans, striking with precision and speed.

Snake-necked turtles are highly adaptable and capable of altering their environment to suit their needs. They are known to travel considerable distances in search of suitable habitats, demonstrating remarkable resilience and adaptability. Despite their solitary nature, with individuals often undertaking journeys alone, Chelodina turtles can sometimes be found in large congregations in areas where conditions are favorable, suggesting a complex balance between their preference for solitude and the benefits of living in proximity to others of their kind.

The survival of Chelodina turtles is currently under threat from several fronts. In Australia, they are hunted by aboriginal communities who value their flesh as a source of food. This traditional practice, while sustainable in the past, poses a potential threat to turtle populations if not managed carefully. Additionally, invasive species such as the red fox have become significant predators, exacerbating the challenges faced by these turtles.