Broad-Shelled Turtle

(Chelodina expansa)


The broad-shelled turtle can tuck its neck and head under the leading edge of its carapace, or upper shell. The largest of the snake-necks, these turtles are relatively flattened in appearance and have clawed, webbed feet.

Quick Facts

Learn more about the broad-shelled turtle! Did you know that this turtle's long neck can add 80% to its body length, aiding in its deception strategy for ambush hunting?

These turtles are found in permanent bodies of fresh water in the Murray-Darling River system of South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland; the coastal basins of southeastern Queensland; and on Fraser Island.

These turtles are omnivores and opportunistic, eating whatever they can catch. Their long, snake-like necks aid in ambushing prey, such as small fish and aquatic invertebrates.

This species is the largest of Australia’s freshwater turtles. Its carapace measures up to 20 inches in length, approximately the size of a trashcan lid.

The population is believed to be stable.

As adults, broad-shelled turtles have few predators. Juveniles are preyed upon by crocodiles, fish, foxes and birds.

Meet the Expert Ken Howell

As the curator of the Upland Tropical Rain Forest, Amazon River Forest and Australia: Wild Extremes exhibits, Ken starts his day early, walking through each exhibit.

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