SPECIES: Elusor macrurus — Mary River Turtle
Evolutionary, it most certainly is. Quite punky in appearance, the Mary River Turtle grows facial algae and barbel-like fleshy spikes under its chin. It is a species endemic to the Mary River in Qld, and unfortunatley was kept as a pet for more than 20 years before it was officially recognised as a species. The Mary River Turtle also has a strange adaptation of being able to breathe through its bottom, which provides it with the ability to stay under water for up to three days at a time.
The Mary River Turtle is listed as endangered on the threatened species list, but also as the 29th most endangered reptile on the world-wide EDGE list - a global conservation initiative focussed on species that represent a significant amount of evolutionary history.
FAME is partnering to save the Mary River Turtle by funding a hatchling program with the aim to increase the remaining wild population of Mary River Turtles. To make a donation to the project or for more info, visit the project page of the website.
Photo credit: Chris Van Wyk