Scientific Name: Carettochelys insculpta
The pig-nosed turtle is a heavy bodied freshwater turtle, weighing up to 22kg and growing up to 60cm in length. The shell is olive-grey or grey-brown above, while the underside is white, cream or yellow. The shell is actually covered with a layer of skin and therefore feels soft to the touch. As an adaptation to their totally aquatic life, their limbs are paddle-shaped to assist with swimming, and each limb has two claws. The common name is derived from the two large forward-facing nostrils.
Did You Know? The species was first described from New Guinea last century but was not officially recorded in Australia until 1969.
Habitat: The pig-nosed turtle can be found in the rivers, billabongs, lakes and waterholes of the Alligator, Victoria and Daly Rivers in the Northern Territory. The species also inhabits similar environments in Papua New Guinea.
Diet: The pig-nosed turtle is omnivorous, but most of the natural diet consists of fruits that have fallen into the water from surrounding trees, particularly figs. Other items include mangrove fruits, pandanus fruits, freshwater prawns, and shellfish.
Reproduction: In Australia, nesting occurs in the late dry season. On the DalyRiver this is between mid-August and early October. The nesting season lasts longer in the Alligator River region, ranging from mid July to early November. The female turtle chooses a sand bank adjacent to the water in which to dig a shallow hole. The 15-20 eggs in each clutch are white, hard-shelled and round and take about two and a half months to hatch.
Q. Why did the turtle cross the road?
A. To get to the shell-Station
Q. What do you call a turtle that flies?
A. A Shell-icopter
Welcome to Frog Hollow. Take a magical walk into the belly of the gnarled old tree and experience frog species such as the Splendid Tree Frog, the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog and the Perons and Green Tree Frogs.
“This is a display for all ages”, says general manager Mary Rayner. “It is like stepping into something out of ‘The Hobbit’ or into a Lewis Carroll novel such as ‘Alice in Wonderland’. It is sure to be a hit with all our visitors.”
Also residing in Frog Hollow is Miss Piggy, the Reptile Park’s Pig-nosed turtle, who is one of only three reptiles that survived the tragic 2000 fire. Given the association that Miss Piggy has with a certain frog, it is only fitting that she shares their abode.
Article contributed by Australian Reptile Park