Northern snake-necked turtle

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The northern snake-necked turtle (Chelodina oblonga) is a species of freshwater turtle that occurs in tropical northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea. Here in the Top End I can frequently spot them across the floodplains during the wet season. This turtle is easily distinguished from other NT turtles by its disproportionately long neck which in some Chelodina species can be longer than the carapace. The neck is used to ambush and strike prey in a snake-like manner, lancing outwards to seize fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. In defensive posture the neck is held sideways and tucked underneath the shell, and when approached snake-necked turtles will either lie motionless or flee. Many times I’ve been outrun by a turtle as it makes its escape into the wetlands. Not as embarrassing as being tricked by a large gopher tortoise in Florida though.

Photographed in situ [1]

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