Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Australian snake-necked turtle

By MSA 2005 Map showing lagoons, slow-moving streams and rivers habitats in eastern Australia


Class Reptilia
Order: Chelonia
Family: Chelidae
Genus and species: Chelodina longicollis

The Australian snake-necked turtle is one of many side-necked turtles that fold their long necks sideways into their shells rather than retracting them. Most Australian snake-necked turtles have shells less than eight inches long and their necks are generally nearly as long as their shell.

These turtles are completely carnivorous. Their diet consists of mollusks, small fish, amphibians, worms, and insects.

Australian snake-necked turtles have musk glands that will emit a foul-smelling fluid if the turtles are caught or captured.

Females lay clutches of eight to 24 eggs at a time. This nesting takes place in the spring and early summer, and incubation of the eggs generally lasts three to four months.

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