Australian Reptiles, Australian Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments 11

Oblong Turtle – Booyi

Oblong Turtle Chelodina Oblonga Herdsman Lake Western Australia

The Oblong Turtle (Chelodina oblonga) or Booyi is one of 8 species of long-necked turtles represented in Australia, where it can be found in the wetlands and swamps throughout the southwest region. These carnivorous reptiles use echolocation to hunt for fish, molluscs and crustaceans in low visibility water, and when identified prey is near their head strikes forward to snatch it. Although seemingly slow, large female turtles attack ducklings and even swamp hens with astonishing speed!

Oblong Turtle Herdsman Lake Western Australia

Life for metropolitan turtles is not easy, as many ephemeral swamps have been converted in housing estates and playgrounds, leaving their habitat rather fragmented in a hostile world, and although Oblong turtles still migrate, for many their journey ends when crossing busy roads. In spring females can be spotted out of the water in search for a safe spot to lay their eggs: they can produce up to 3 clutches of 2-16 eggs that take between 26-41 weeks to hatch. Although many hatchlings are born at the end of winter, many will never find their way back to the water as high curbs, long grass and numerous predators are encountered. The female I spotted yesterday didn’t have to travel too far to find a suitable spot for her eggs, and after she covered the small hole with with her back claws she quickly found safety in the water again. I hope the offspring will be as lucky as mum.

11 Comments

  1. By no means the prettiest of Australian animals that you’ve featured on your blog, Maurice, but definitely as interesting as any of them!

  2. Absolutely true, Dries, but I promise to make it up with you very soon…although beauty is always in the eye of the beholder of course

    • She might look a bit like a miniature dinosaur, Awa, but with no teeth. Those turtles are actually afraid of us, as they keep contracting their neck sideways and try to avoid us.

    • That’s a great post Jacques! Nice shots too; I’ve focused too long on trying to capture it in portrait mode and missed to many oppportunities for different angles and perspectives

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