The white throated snapping turtle, Elseya albagula is one of Australia’s largest short-necked freshwater turtles, with females growing to a shell length of around 40 cm.
This critically endangered species is only found in the Burnett, Fitzroy, and Mary River systems of Central Queensland.
While both male and female turtles have a large robust head, it is only the female that has irregular white or cream markings on the sides and under surfaces of the head and neck.
These herbivorous turtles have the ability to absorb oxygen directly from the water through special structures inside their cloaca, giving them the term ‘bum breathers’ allowing them to stay under water for up to 3 hours. As these turtles rely on this aquatic respiration for up to 74% of their oxygen requirements, they are heavily affected by degradation and modification of their river systems. This, along with egg predation by feral and native animals, trampling of nests and eggs by livestock are the leading causes for their rapid decline.
Come and see if you can spot Alby, our adult male white-throated snapping turtle, swimming in his pond that he calls home at Alexandra Park Zoo.
Did you know?
White-throated snapping turtles can dive for up to three hours!