Macleay River Turtle

At the outset, let me explain that yes, I realise the Macleay river is no where near N.Queensland - not even in the same state - so shaky finger off the comment button okay?.

We do however, have at least one of its turtles here in the wet tropics.

We're gonna need some background:

Friends of ours were moving inter-state. And one of them was round having a cuppa and discussing the ins and outs of the move.

The subject of the turtle came up and general agreement was made that it's not very pleasant for these guys to travel long distances, not to mention the license muck about and the bastardry of moving glass bloody aquariums ...

But I honestly didn't think that much more about it.

Long story short, a while later we were asked if we'd take on the little bloke. And, of course - we said yes.

Anyway, today I sent through a pic to his previous carers which got me thinking:

This fellow is so, so groovy - that he deserves his very own post, (as out of keeping with the overall 'theme' of this blog that may be).

Anyway - it's my blog, I guess that means I can post whatever the hell I choose right?.


So here he is:

Emydura macquarii

And breathe ...

Being ferociously handsome

with a winning smile

Pacific blue-eye F

Pacific blue-eye M

As you have no doubt surmised, these turtles are a fresh-water species, although some salt should be added to their water as it helps prevent infections and generally makes for a happier turtle.

The fish pictured are native to N.QLD - the Pacific blue-eye (Pseudomugil signifer). These pics don't quite do them justice, esp the male who flares his beautiful fins when displaying to females and or rival males.

We have nine in the tank with the turtle, there used to be ten ... but you know - 'turtle'.

Actually, they're in the tank not just for decoration, but to add a little stimulation for our Testudines friend.

He does try to snack on them and as I mentioned - seems to have succeeded on one occasion. Still, try as he might - the fish are more than a match.

I have to say that watching the earnest little reptile attempt to sneak up on his fishy tank-mates is one of those 'Look! - look, he's doing it again' kinda moments.

I've never cared for a turtle before, but Ryder (the chap who kindly asked us to look after him), filled us in on the general do's and don'ts ... so far things seem to be going swimmingly (ahem ... sorry).

Like all pleurodirous turtles, the chelids withdraw their necks sideways into their shells, differing from cryptodires that fold their necks in the vertical plane.

They are all highly aquatic species with webbed feet and the capacity to stay submerged for long periods of time. The snake-necked species (genera Chelus, Chelodina, and Hydromedusa) are largely strike-and-gape hunters or foragers feeding on fish, invertebrates, and gastropods.

There is an absolute wealth of info regarding turtle husbandry to be found on the interwebnet and the ice in my glass is beginning to melt so here's a couple for your perusal:

Caring For Australian Turtles

Macleay river turtle

Seriously, a frog has just landed on a plant next to me, so I've got to go. Huge thanks and big hugs to Ryder and Erin for introducing us to such an amazing turtle.

As always, until next time - take care, Paul :)

Fun Fact
Turtle shells are made up of about 60 bones that are covered by plates, (scutes) made of keratin - as is your hair, fingernails and skin!

The Chelidae are one of three living families of the turtle suborder Pleurodira and are commonly called the Austro-South American side-neck turtles.

The family is distributed in Australia, New Guinea, parts of Indonesia, and throughout most of South America. It is a large family of turtles with a significant fossil history dating back to the Cretaceous.

The family is entirely Gondwanan in origin, with no members found outside of Gondwana, either in the present day or as a fossil.^