The Aquarium is currently open to the public. In response to COVID-19, we’ve made some essential changes to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Irwin's Snapping Turtle

(Elseya irwini)

Overview

This species was first discovered in the early 1990s by Steve Irwin, the late Crocodile Hunter, and his father, Bob Irwin. The first specimen was then collected and described by Australian herpetologist John Cann, who named it Elseya irwini after its discoverers. There is still very little known about this species, and biologists today are working on both collecting more of these turtles and observing them in their natural habitat to learn more about their behavior.

Outside of Australia, the only place you can see this turtle is the National Aquarium.

Quick Facts

Learn more about Irwin's snapping turtle! Did you know that this turtle was discovered by the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin?

This species occurs in the upstream reaches of the Broken and Bowen rivers, which are tributaries to the Burdekin River in southern Queensland, Australia.

These turtles eat snails and plant matter; females may be completely herbivorous.

They can grow up to 11.8 inches, and males are about half the size of females.

The population is estimated at 4,000 to 5,000 individuals.

Crocodiles eat these turtles, and feral pigs, lizards and goannas eat the eggs.

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.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter Sign up to receive updates on animals, news and events.