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Eastern Long-necked Turtle

Scientific name: Chelodina longicollis 
Also known as 'Malinthaipari' (Ngarrindjeri dictionary)
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Distinctive features

Adults can grow as large as a bread plate. Long slender neck. Distinct black markings on the plastron (underside). Release a pungent smell when threatened. Commonly seen on land.


The Eastern long-necked turtle is the most widespread turtle in south-eastern Australia. It lives in any body of water, from rivers to permanent and temporary fringing wetlands and farm dams. Long-necked turtles are the most terrestrial of the three species in this project, often travelling from one water body to another. Thus, they are commonly killed on the roads. Long-necked turtle are the smallest of the three species, with males growing to almost 1 kg and females sometimes more than 1.5 kg. The carapace (upper shell) is typically very dark brown or black, and the plastron (underside of the shell) is cream with distinctive black lines along the joins between the scutes of the plastron. The plastron is wide, covering most of the limbs, head and tail when they are retracted. This species sometimes releases a distinct, pungent scent from glands on the bridge between the carapace and plastron when threatened.
Eastern long-necked turtles nest predominantly in November and December. The females may walk considerable distances from water, but generally less than 200 m, and many nests are close to water. The eggs take 2-3 months to hatch and the offspring have distinct orange or red spots on their plastron.
Long-necked turtles are carnivores, mostly feeding on invertebrates from zooplankton to macro-invertebrates, including yabbies. They will eat dead animals in the water, which means that they can be caught in baited traps - which can put them at risk from drowning.
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