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Pig-Nosed Turtle

(Carettochelys insculpta)

Overview

These reptiles are aptly named; they have a fleshy, protruding snout with nostrils at the front. The pig-nosed turtle’s carapace (shell) and limbs are gray to olive green. Its plastral (bottom shell) color is light—white, cream or yellowish. Males have larger tails than the females, making them easy to identify.

Females lays their eggs in nests dug into sandbars that are exposed during the dry season. The eggs develop fully but do not hatch until exposed to the first rains of the wet season.

A Note From the Caretaker

In some regions, these turtles are caught and killed by fishermen because they are considered pests that raid bait intended for catching other species.

Quick Facts

Learn more about pig-nosed turtles! Did you know that this is the only freshwater turtle that has flippers like a sea turtle?

These turtles are found in northern Australia, Irian Jaya and southern New Guinea. Their habitat includes rivers, estuaries, lagoons, lakes, swamps and pools.

Pig-nosed turtles are omnivorous but prefer to eat plants more than animal matter. Their natural diet is mostly made up of the fruit and leaves of the wild fig.

This reptile can grow to a weight of 50 pounds and a length of 22 inches.

Although once believed to be extremely rare, these turtles are common within their range. There have been declines in some areas, and Australia has taken steps to protect the species from exploitation.

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