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Eastern Snake-Necked Turtle Facts

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Eastern snake-necked turtles (Chelodina longicollis) are Australian reptiles that are visually striking thanks to their lengthy, snake-like necks, faithful to their common names. They are frequently referred to by a handful of other similar monikers, which include "Australian snake-necked turtles," "long-necked tortoises" and "Eastern long-necked turtles." These semi-aquatic turtles reside in eastern and southern portions of their home nation.

Physical Appearance

These mid-sized adept swimmers have upper shells that can grow to upwards of 11 inches long. They generally weigh anywhere between roughly 16 and 29 ounces. Their upper shells are usually pale brown, deep brown, reddish-brown or black in coloration, while their lower shells are white, yellow or yellowish-white. Their necks tend to be roughly 50 percent as long as their upper shells. Their feet are webbed and feature powerful claws. Females tend to have shorter tails than male specimens, although their physiques usually, on the whole, are bigger. For the most part, the genders are physically similar.


Eastern snake-necked turtles usually inhabit marshy and sluggish aquatic settings -- think swamps. Despite their overall penchants for those habitats, they are also common sights in lagoons, lakes, ponds and rivers. They tend to remain deep in the water on the floor, although it isn't rare for them to venture out onto land and bask in warmth on logs and stones, either. Eastern snake-necked turtles in especially cold regions of Australia sometimes enter into winter hibernation.


These meat eaters eat many different forms of sustenance, namely bugs, worms, crayfish, frogs, tadpoles and tiny fish. When on the hunt for food, they make the most of their extended necks, pushing them forward to gain better access. Eastern snake-necked turtles occasionally dine on the decaying remains of previously killed creatures -- carrion.


One rather amusing nickname of members of the species is "stinker." This handle comes from the foul protective substances that they give off via their musk glands. This release typically occurs when eastern snake-necked turtles feel uneasy or frightened by people -- usually when they touch them.


The breeding season for eastern snake-necked turtles takes place during the months of September and October each year. Their clutches typically are made up of between 5 and 24 eggs. The incubation process usually lasts between 130 and 168 days. The offspring are born starting in January all the way through the end of April.


Eastern snake-necked turtles are faced with an assortment of predator threats, including dingoes, foxes, monitor lizards, water rats and others. Foxes are particularly threatening to eggs and youngsters, and rarely to fully mature specimens.

Eastern Snake-Necked Turtles as Pets

Not only do these reptiles exist in the wild, they also are sometimes kept as household pets. Although they tend to possess meek temperaments, they generally work well in captive environments after a little time. Many of them even willingly take food directly out of their owners' hands.