Snake-necked turtle, Australian snake-necked turtle, Eastern snake-necked turtle, Stinker
This medium-sized turtle has oval-shaped, black to light brown colored carapace with a shallow groove on its center. Dark junctures run across cream colored plastron. The long and narrow neck is brown to gray dorsally and yellow - ventrally. The Eastern long-necked turtle has a small and pointed head. The coloration of the limbs varies from dark grey to brown. The turtles display sexual dimorphism with males, having thicker, longer tails and the inward curved plastron. Meanwhile, females are larger, identified by deeper shells and concealed tail, which is shorter and fatter, than that of males. Young turtles are usually black to dark gray in color, and their plastron is covered with orange spots. In addition, they have an orange band, running down both sides of their neck and jaw.
The natural habitat of the Eastern long-necked turtle is a slow-moving water body. The species inhabit wetland and swampy areas as well as streams and rivers. The area of their distribution mainly includes south-eastern Australia, west of Adelaide to Victoria and New South Wales and north to the Fitzroy River of Queensland.
These animals can change their habitat if necessary, travelling long distances in search of a suitable habitat. The Eastern long-necked turtles are solitary animals and move independently, though sometimes many individuals can be found living in the same area. This turtle is cold-blooded, diurnal animal. Their activity depends on the external temperature. Thus, they are inactive in the early morning, basking in the sun to warm up and increase their body temperature. They are most active in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon, escaping from the sun to a shelter during the noon. The Eastern long-necked turtles use touching and release of pheromones as forms of communication.
These turtles have a polygynous mating system, where a male can mate with many females. The breeding season takes place during the autumn months, from September to October, while the nesting period is October-December. Their nesting sites are situated nearby water. Usually, the female lays 8-24 eggs, which have a form of ellipse and are hard-shelled. The eggs are incubated for 120-150 days, after which, between January and late April, the young hatch out. The newly hatched turtles are fully independent, receiving no parental care from their mother, who looks forward to breed again, if the conditions are favorable. It takes quite long the Eastern long-necked turtles to become sexually mature. Typically, males are mature at 7-8 years old, whereas female turtles reach maturity at 10-12 years old.
These turtles currently suffer from hunting by indigenous people of Australia, who feed upon their meat. They are also hunted by their natural predators such as invasive red foxes. And finally, the animals are threatened by environmental and climatic changes.
The exact number of their overall population is presently unknown, but the species is fairly widespread, found in large numbers throughout the area of their habitat. Eastern Long-Necked Turtle is not listed on the IUCN Red List and is thought to be a species of least concern.
Due to feeding upon aquatic organisms, the turtles control the numbers of these species’ populations throughout the area of their habitat.