Fly River Turtle
Scientific Name: Carettichelys insculpta
The Fly River turtle is one of the most adapted freshwater turtles to marine life with the development of flippers very similar to those of marine turtles and other aquatic animals.
This turtle’s other common name, the “pig-nosed” turtle, is derived from the location of the nostrils on the very front of its protruding snout, bearing an uncanny resemblance to its swine counterpart.
STATUS: As of the latest review in 2000, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has deemed the Fly River turtle as Vulnerable due to local exploitation and illegal animal trade.
HABITAT: The Fly River turtle is almost entirely aquatic, making its home in the rivers, lakes, swamps, and pools of northern Australia and southern New Guinea.
DIET: Fly River turtles are omnivorous (meaning they eat both plant and animal matter), however they prefer fruits and leaves while in the wild and are seldom seen feeding off another animals. When in captivity, these turtles can be fed a ranging meal of fruits, with the occasional shrimp or small fish added as well.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: This turtle grows to be very large, attaining a weight of around 49 lbs and a length of about 22 inches. The shell and limb color ranges from gray to olive, with its underside anywhere from white to a more yellowish color. Males can be differentiated from females by their longer and narrower tails. As their common names imply, this turtle has wing-like flippers which allow for better maneuverability in water than most turtles as well as a protruding snout with forward facing nostrils.
The Territorial Turtle
Fly River turtles seem to follow a territorial system of control over the thermal vents located on the beds of rivers in their natural habitats. During the cold season, dominant turtles tend to claim the warm vents in the river beds and have shown to be very defensive over their established territory. These turtles have proven to be so aggressive that many times, in captivity, individuals will be kept separate from one another to avoid any unneeded conflict over personal space issues in the habitat.