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Need help identifying your turtle? (warning lots of images)

Discussion in 'Turtle Identification' started by Ikola, Sep 16, 2009.

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  1. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Hi All,

    We get lots or requests to help identify your turtles. When receiving a turtle, the scientific name should be noted on the paper work, this is a great place to start in making a positive ID.

    If not,

    This thread is a quick reference to help you make a positive match.

    Please read the info below posts and scroll down to see the various turtle species.

    If you are still unsure as to what turtle you have, please post up some clear, in focus pics so that we might be able to help you make a positive ID.

    Acknowledgements for this thread and information:

    All of the various members who contributed to the AFT gallery. Using your pics was a big help!
     
  2. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Mary River Turtle - Elusor macrurus


    Description:


    A very large turtle! The neck of adults has smooth but distinctive blunt tubercles with two large barbels on the chin. Mature adults have a unique tail, the females' is large, the males' even larger, being almost the length of the carapace. It also has haemal arches in its tail, meaning that it looks unlike the tail of any other reptile.

    Size:

    The Mary River turtle can grow to a whopping 460mm!

    Carapace:

    The carapace is smooth and streamlined.

    Feeding Habits:

    Omnivorous, adults eat primarily native windfall fruits and aquatic vegetation. The can also open shell fish using the mouths and claws.

    Comments:

    No longer under threat by the Traveston Dam crossing project, this turtle was one of the deciding factors in the project being declined by Peter Garrett. Due to the continued work by Craig Latta and AFT, many captive bred hatchlings were released into the wild each season in an attempt to bring the wild populations back to plentiful numbers.

    Photos of Mary River Turtles:
    8c02c8c8.jpg

    86249f4e.jpg

    2ba73c77.jpg
     
  3. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Broad-Shelled Turtle -Macrochelodina expansa


    Description:

    The head is broad and there are up to 6 small barbels on the chin of this species. It has a long thin neck which retracts completely when required for protection of sleeping

    Size:

    The expansa can grow to a size of 350mm to a whopping 480mm carapace length!

    Carapace:

    The carapace is oval in shape with a broad front and rounded but tapering rear. Carapace is light fawn in colour, smooth, although some of the QLD populations can be quite dark in colour.

    This turtle has a considerable morphological change from juvenile to adult - the juveniles are pear shaped with a high carapace central ridging, while at maturity they are oval in shape with no central ridging and wider towards the rear.

    Feeding Habits:

    An ambush feeder, burying itself in river sand or debris where it predates on fish, yabbies and other invertebrates. It strikes with surprising speed to suck both water and prey into their throats.

    Comments:

    These turtles have been reported to travel up to 1km across land during breeding / nesting.

    Photos of Broad-shelled Turtles:

    6 week old juvenile.JPG
    MainlandBroad-shell600X450-1.jpg

    Broad-shell 800.JPG
     
  4. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Saw-shelled Turtle - Myuchelys latisternum
    (formerly known as Elseya latisternum and Wollumbinia latisternum)

    Description:

    The most prominent feature of the Saw-shelled Turtle is the thick, head shield which is similar to that seen in other species of snapping turtle. This head shield continues downwards on either side of the head to the tympanum.

    The serrations in the carapace give it the common name Saw-shell.

    Size:

    Female Saw-shelled turtles grow to a maximum length of 300mm although 260mm is considered average.

    Carapace:

    The carapace of the Saw-shelled turtle is oval. It has a slight widening at the rear and can vary in colouration from black through to light fawn. Occasionally they can have indication of black spots or a mottled pattern.

    Feeding Habits:

    The Saw-shelled turtle is an opportunistic omnivore and feeds on freshwater aquatic vegetation and riparian fruits, tadpoles, frogs, crayfish, yabbies and in some references - cane toads.

    Comments:

    A very hardy turtle for hobbyists that does well in captivity.

    Photos of Saw-shelled Turtles:
    7c46c27a.jpg


    Male & female saw.jpg
    Hatchling Saw-shelled turtles.JPG
    P3140028large.jpg
     
    #4 Ikola, Nov 5, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2017
  5. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Murray River Turtle/Macquarie Turtle - Emydura macquarii macquarii
    (some of these species sold in pet stores are actually other subspecies of Emydura)

    Description:

    The Murray River turtle is a short necked turtle that grows to a size of 350mm. This turtle has a cream / yellow / whitish band / stripe starting at the mouth and extending back along the neck. In some specimens a similar colour occurs behind the eyes in the form of a blemish or dot. The skin is a grey colouration.

    The neck is covered in fine tubercles and this species has two small barbels under the chin.

    Size:

    The Murray River Turtle grows to a length of 350mm and is among the larger, fastest growing of the captive kept turtle species. For this reason a lot of Murray Turtles are given away as rescue pets... Keep this in mind should you be looking at this species and think BIG in terms of tank size or potentially a pond for this species once it has outgrown an indoor setup.

    Carapace:

    The carapace is arched which widen toward the rear of carapace. Adult Murray's usually have a crease along the mid-line.

    Feeding Habits:

    The Murray River turtle is omnivorous and consumes aquatic plants, terrestrial plants, algae, insects, molluscs (snails), yabbies and fish / carrion (dead animal matter).

    Comments:

    A very hardy turtle for hobbyists that does well in captivity although strict feeding guidelines should be adhered to.

    Photos of Murray River Turtles:

    6de01cca.jpg

    601580_538338209531459_1399319983_n.jpg
    MacquariesfromBlueHole2.jpg
    Murray.jpg
     
  6. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Brisbane River Turtle - Emydura macquarii signata


    Description:

    The side of the head has a light stripe (or in some cases as well as a yellow spot) that extends from the corner of the mouth back to behind the eye. This species has two small barbels on the chin. Younger signata turtles have a high ridging along the centrals of the carapace, making this an indicating character of the species - other species of Emydura sp. do not have this characteristic.

    Size:

    The Brisbane River turtle grows to a size of 275mm.

    Carapace:

    The carapace is oval in shape with a broad front and rounded rear. Carapace is mid to light brown in colouration and the texture is smooth. Plastron is narrow and pale coloured underneath without the dark markings delineating the scute margins as found in other species of Emydura SPP.

    Feeding Habits:

    The Brisbane River turtles diet consists of aquatic weeds and insects, this makes up the most of their natural diet.

    Comments:

    With the introduction of a lot of other Emydura species to waterways, it is likely that many of the Emydura macquarii signata have interbred.

    Photos of Brisbane River Turtles:

    2-img_2855sml.jpg
     
  7. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Krefft's Turtle - Emydura macquarii krefftii
    (some of these species sold in stores are actually other species of Emydura)

    Description:

    This turtle is large and robust. The colouration of this turtle varies greatly from olive green through to black. A yellow patch / dot / spot extends back from the eye to the tympanum. This yellow dot / patch is a characteristic of this species in eastern QLD. As this turtle grows the yellow patch may no longer be present.

    The neck has small tubercles as well as two barbels under the chin.

    Size:

    The Krefft's River Turtle grows to a length of 300mm.

    Carapace:

    The carapace is highly variable in colouration ranging from green, olive green, olive brown, brown and almost black in some cases.

    Feeding Habits:

    Omnivorous feeder that eats aquatic plants, insects, yabbies and small fish. This turtle will also scavenge and sift around for carrion and occasionally will eat berries from low hanging plants. Feed this species as per other Emydura SPP.

    Comments:

    A very hardy turtle for hobbyists that does well in captivity although strict feeding guidelines should be adhered to.

    Photos of Krefft River Turtles:

    aae2d4da.jpg
    c55bccce.jpg
     
  8. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Macleay River Turtle - Emydura macquarii dharra


    Description:

    The head and neck of this species has a light yellow stripe extending from the mouth and along the neck. The small barbels seen on other Emydura sp. are often not visible on the Macleay River turtle.

    Size:

    The Macleay River Turtle can grow to a size of 185mm but most average size in this species is around 160mm. This is the smallest of the short neck Emydura species and does well in captivity with correct husbandry.

    Carapace:

    The colouration of the carapace varies from mid - light brown. The texture of the carapace is smooth and is evenly arched the length of the carapace.

    Feeding Habits:

    These turtles eat yabbies, shrimp, small fish, suitable plants and algae.

    Comments:

    The Macleay River turtle has a distinctive eye colour being one of their identifying characteristics.

    Photos of Macleay River Turtle:

    View of the Plastron of a 4 Week old Juvenile showing identifying colouration.
    99b150f8.jpg


    Fully grown adult pair of Macleay River turtles
    0335fe42.jpg
     
  9. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Eastern Snake-Necked Turtle (ELN) - Chelodina longicollis


    Description:


    The head of the ELN may have two small barbels present on the chin.

    The ELN has a long thin neck that retracts completely when required for protection or sleep.

    Size:

    The ELN grows to a maximum size of 260mm

    Carapace:

    Maximum carapace length is 260mm, The carapace is oval in shape with a broader front and slightly widened rear. Carapace colouration is dark to mid-light brown in and the texture is smooth or 'wrinkly' feeling


    Feeding Habits:

    ELN's have a preference for live food. They should be fed shrimp, small fish and aquatic insects to accommodate their natural diet. If kept in captivity, this species should be offered live food.

    Comments:

    These are a slower growing turtle and are relatively suited to a tank setup. Following correct feeding guidelines see this turtle grow at a fairly slow rate. Good for people that wish to keep their turtle forever in a tank without view of a pond down the track.

    Photos of Eastern Snake-necked Turtle:

    70e01c34.jpg

    90038dca.jpg

    ESN 07.JPG
    Male & Female ELN 2.jpg
     
  10. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Australian Painted Turtle /Jardine River - Emydura subglobosa subglobosa


    Description:

    The most eye catching feature of this species is the bright red colouration.

    The legs and body parts of this turtle species can be speckled with bright red colouration. It also has red or yellow 'chin strap' patch occurring in a 'U' shape under the chin.

    A truly beautiful turtle!

    Size:

    The Painted Turtle can grow to a length of 240mm

    Carapace:

    The carapace of the Painted turtle can be a brown, brown mottled colouration and have red colouration scattered throughout it on particularly bright specimens.

    Feeding Habits:

    Can be offered aquatic plants and especially crustaceans including yabbies and prawns. Their diet should be similar to other Emydura sp..

    Comments:

    This species requires warmer water temps of 27° to 29° so keeping this species with others is not recommended. Class licence restrictions apply to this turtle in some States. This species can lay up to 11 eggs in a clutch, and usually triple clutch each season. In one rare instance, possibly a World first, the owner of this site had one female Painted turtle lay 15 clutches of eggs, ranging from 9-11 eggs in a clutch, in 15 months which is unheard of both in freshwater and Marine turtles alike.

    As with all Emydura, males have longer tails than females of the same species.

    Please be aware that in Australia there are a number of 'Painted' turtles being sold to turtle keepers that are actually hybrids of Painted turtles and Kreffts turtles, which were actually two species that were originally housed together in an animal institution many years ago.
    This lineage of 'tainted Painted's' as they have been labelled, can produce up to 16 eggs in a clutch and sometimes more!
    These interbreeds are not true Painted turtles.



    Photos of Painted Turtles:

    pic3770600.jpg

    4cdd68b4.jpg

    Picture018600.jpg

    DSCN8263Largeclutch600.jpg

    Painted2600.jpg
     
  11. Ikola

    Ikola Senior Turtle

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    Southwestern snake-necked turtle/Narrow breasted snake-necked turtle - Chelodina colliei
    Its former and now obsolete common name was the Oblong turtle


    Description:

    The Southwestern snake-necked turtle has the longest neck of the Australian Freshwater turtles, in comparison to its shell length. Given the size of this neck, it cannot completely retract it when required for protection. A large robust turtle.

    It is found in South Western Australia from Hill River north of Perth though to the Fitzgerald River National Park.

    The Southwestern snake-necked turtle/Narrow breasted snake-necked turtle has multiple barbels on the chin.

    Size:

    The Southwestern snake-necked turtle/Narrow breasted snake-necked turtle can grow to a length of 350mm.

    Carapace:

    The carapace colouration is mid to dark brown in colour and texture of the carapace of smooth. The carapace is oblong in shape with a tapered front through to a rounded rear. The plastron of is much narrower in width than the carapace.

    Feeding Habits:

    This turtle eats freshwater crayfish, Marron, shrimp and aquatic insects. It is an ambush feeder by nature and should be supplied live foods when kept in captivity.

    Comments:

    This species will bury itself in mud or vegetation when their waterholes or billabongs begin to dry up. They will wait for 5 - 6 months for rain.

    This turtle prefers murky waters and a good way to accommodate this in captivity is to add river clay to the water to make the water turbid. Also adding river leaf litter will assist in helping the stress levels. (As per Craig L's advice).

    Photos of Southwestern snake-necked turtles/Narrow breasted snake-necked turtle:

    dd67c967.jpg

    7e5605f0.jpg

    8bf94ae9.jpg
     
  12. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Northern Red-faced turtle
    - Emydura victoriae
    Or
    Victoria River Red-faced Turtle

    NOW INCLUDES TURTLES PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS THE

    North-west Red-faced Turtle
    Emydura australis



    Description:

    An attractive turtle from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is a short-necked turtle with deep red to orange bands from the eye to the tympanum (outer ear skin covering), as well as another band from the back of the mouth and extending along the neck. The neck has small, soft tubercles of which some may also be coloured red to orange.


    Size:


    The Northern red-faced turtle can grow to 160mm. Males can be sexually mature at 120mm.

    Carapace:

    Maximum SCL (Straight Carapace Length) is 160mm. Shell is dark olive and convex, and is rounded on the middle of the sides.

    Feeding Habits:

    Typical of other short-necked omnivorous turtles, they will feed on freshwater fish, aquatic vegetation, carrion and any live molluscs or invertebrates they find.

    Comments:


    As with other northern species, Northern red-faced turtles require water temperatures ranging from 27° Celsius to 30° Celsius. They are not a fast growing turtle, nor are they a large turtle by any means and are best kept indoors where their climate is easily controlled, especially during winter. In summer months in temperate areas like coastal NSW through to Queensland they may be kept in ponds outside.


    Photos of North Western Red-faced Turtles

    a5691868.jpg

    c11b7db7.jpg


     
  13. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Worrell's Turtle- Emydura subglobosa worrelli


    Description:

    A sub-species of the Painted turtle, Worrell's turtles have a pink to orange and sometimes yellow band extending from the tip of the nose, through the eye and past the Tympanum (outer ear skin covering) up to the tubercles on the neck. This band can also extend from behind the eyes, instead of from the tip of the nose.
    The band can be outlined on both edges by a thinner black band, or the black bands can be absent.

    Another band extends from the back of the mouth through the tubercles and along the neck, as shown in the photos below.

    As with Painted turtles, Worrell's turtles have leading/trailing black eye spots either side of the pupils in their eyes. Worrell's turtles have small barbels under the chin and like Kreffts turtles, females can develop the condition known as Macrocephaly (Boof-headedness).


    Size:


    Worrell's turtles are a Medium sized species growing to 240mm.

    Carapace:


    Maximum SCL (Straight Carapace Length) is 240mm. The shell is quite smooth and is light brown, dark brown to olive colour.

    Feeding Habits:


    Worrell's turtles are omnivorous and favour freshwater invertebrates, molluscs, aquatic plants and windfall fruits, including the fruit of the Pandanus.

    Comments:

    Unlike its cousin the Painted turtle, Worrell's turtles can be kept in temperate regions of Australia in outdoor ponds all year round.

    Photos of Worrell's turtle:

    worrelli4600.jpg

    worrelli3600.jpg

    Worrelli600.jpg

    05c722a4.jpg
     
  14. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    White-throated snapping turtle - Elseya albagula

    Description:

    Males and females are sexually dimorphic with females growing substantially larger than males. They are the largest of the Elseya genera. Adult females develop a white (alba) throat (gular) as they sexually mature. They lay up to 14 eggs in a clutch and oviposition (egg laying) occurs just prior to Winter. The eggs develop for a short period then cease developing in the cold of Winter. The eggs must have a diapause (a period of suspended development) if they are artificially incubated. Eggs artificially incubated at 28° Celsius with a 30 day diapause of 22° Celsius during the 2nd month of incubation took exactly 4 months to hatch. they have large dark brown to black eyes and females have rather large heads. Juvenile White-throated snapping turtles have very serrated carapace marginals. Adult turtles have thick, heavy set shells.

    Size:

    Females can grow to over 43cm SCL (Straight Carapace Length). Males can grow to approximately 28cm SCL. One of my specimens weighed over 8 kilograms.

    Feeding Habits:
    Juvenile turtles of this species are insectivorous and carnivorous, and will quickly learn to accept a wide variety of foods including pellets. Their dietary preferences change somewhat as they mature and seem to prefer aquatic vegetation to some degree. At all stages in life they will hand feed on suitably sized yabbies and prawns (that have had the sharp head and tails removed.)


    Comments: Contrary to their size and weight, they are a very fast swimming species. They prefer the shelter of log entanglements and very large clay pots cut in half. Adults must be kept in ponds or exceptionally large aquariums a minimum of 8ft X 3ft X 2ft or larger.

    They readily breed in captivity and despite their snapping turtle name, they have a good nature and can be hand fed. When females are gravid with eggs the become very aggressive to all other turtles that come near them. If they become very stressed when gravid, this species is known to lay their eggs under water and devour them.

    Photos of White-throated snapping turtles:
    4629-1504587899-f3f52c8472d640cee88a399cf9de98c7.jpg

    4631-1504590308-2744ae817928e027ff79f53764941848.jpg
    4630-1504588941-475ad19a7a7b66887f042a8f3ef64ddf.jpg


    Below are two photos of one of my White-throated snapping turtles that was struck by an exceptionally large hailstone whilst in her million litre + pond.
    4635-1504663336-bba46e6f296b551cb2078786c8e38e86.jpg
    4633-1504657178-c475b774b8881e7702c1202162369445.jpg
     
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