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Mary River turtle, it has algae hair and breathes through its genitals

The Mary River turtle! These sun-loving reptiles can be seen right here at Australia Zoo, so keep your eyes peeled for these ripper reptiles in our Australian Turtle Exhibit.

As their name suggests, Mary River turtles are found in the Mary River from Gympie to Maryborough and prefer to inhabit clear, slow-moving water. They are identified by their brownish, smooth, streamlined shell and will display a heavy covering of green algae. Their algae covered shell is perfect for remaining unseen from predators and prey alike!

Mary River turtles are omnivores. As well as eating underwater vegetation, they will predate upon fish, frogs and possibly even ducklings. They have the ability to camouflage into the muddy bottoms of the waterways and wait for their unsuspecting prey to pass by. The Mary River turtle is a cloacal ventilator, meaning it breathes oxygen through its anus. Cloacal ventilation allows the species to stay underwater for days at a time when the water is flowing and well oxygenated.

mary the river turtle

These turtles have to be clever to survive in the wild! As a hatchling they are frequently predated upon by other reptiles and birds of prey. Sadly, they are often caught by fishermen and are victims of fishing line entanglement and habitat destruction. It is so important to keep our waterways clean and clear, ensuring the survival of our aquatic life!

The Mary River turtle is an endangered species.

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