Something about freshwater turtles

Eastern snake-necked or Eastern long-necked turtle, chelodina longicollis

This individual was found at the western side of the reservoir, sunning itself in the shallows. These turtles are reputedly shy but this one seemed quite happy to stay in one place.

Shows an Eastern long-necked turtle looking up, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Looking up at the camera

Shows an Eastern long-necked turtle paddling in the shallows of the reservoir, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Paddling in the reservoir shallows

Shows an Eastern long-necked turtle pulling its neck in sideways against its body, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

The Eastern long-necked turtle pulls its neck in sideways against its body


The ‘long neck’ part of the name is evident. The ‘ELN’ (eastern long neck) turns its neck sideways in against its body. It also approaches its prey with a sideways strike.

They’re carnivorous, eating water living invertebrates, tadpoles, frogs, crayfish and fish.

Native freshwater turtles can be distinguished from tortoises by their feet which are webbed and flipper- like, and the fact they live mainly in the water. There are no native tortoises in Australia.

They can live to at least 70 years of age.

ELNs are most active in the spring and summer. They can enter brumination, a period of torpor, when temperatures drop below a certain level.

Mating occurs in September/ October, following winter hibernation, and into early summer. Eggs are laid in summer, by moonlight. Females can breed when they’re 10 to 11 years of age and males at the age of 7.

A picture of a baby ELN turtle can be seen here, at the blog site, Eucalypt Habitat.

Whilst they are considered common in south eastern Australia, they face the threat of predation (turtle eggs are sought by foxes and lizards) as well as the impact of urbanisation (habitat loss or interference affecting nesting and hibernation, water levels and quality.)

Sources and other references

Eucalypt Habitat (30/11/09) Baby long-necked turtle

Host, B. M. (2006) Husbandry Manual for Eastern Snake  Necked Turtle, Chelodina longicollis, Reptilia: Chelidae.

Kennett, R., Roe, J., Hodges, K., and Georges, A. (2009) Chelodina longicollis (Shaw 1784) – eastern long-necked turtle, common long-necked turtle, common snake-necked turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 031.1-031.8,

Latta, C. (n.d.) Turtle care sheets, Pilbara Pythons.

Thomas, A. (2003) Turtle Recall, Scribbly Gum.

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