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Mary River Turtle

© written by Tasha Guenther

Though images are scarce, the Mary river turtle (Elusor macrurus) often looks like a Chia Pet! This particular adaptation allows the Mary river turtle to camoflage in its surroundings (environment). Because the Mary River turtle spends so much time under marshy river waters, algae begins to grow all over its body and head!

Unfortunately, this cool creature is an endangered species!

Its body is usually a darker gray colour, its carapace (shell) is dark brown to red in colour, and its plastron (underside) is a lighter gray to cream or light yellow colour.

Females can grow up to 35 cm and males are quite a bit larger measuring in at around 40-45 cm long! This turtle has very large back legs and feet, which make it a very fast swimmer!

Like most turtle species, a male's tail is longer and thicker than a female's.

Characteristic of the Mary river turtle are the little tubes that come out of the neck .

One interesting fact about this turtle species is that it takes a crazy long time to reach maturity (or full adulthood). For females it takes 25 years and for males, it takes a whopping 30 years!