Endangered Strangers: The Mary River Turtle

Oy, who you lookin' at?

If you lookin' at me, I be de MARY RIVER TURTLE --- toughest bloke is dese here parts, if I say so meeself.

Wait??? Choo laughin'? Why choo say "iguana in wig"?

You tinks my algae hair is funny? You tinks my bum-breather is funny? You tinks my chin hornz is funny? You not tinks it so funny when I bites your face to eedle-beedy pieces! Den we sees who be lookin' funny.

Choo feel lucky, punk?

The Mary River Turtle is a watery denizen of the Mary River which runs through South-East Queensland, Australia. In the 60's and 70's this unusual turtle species was known as the "Pet Store Turtle," with 15,000 being sent to pet shops each year. This large turtle can be over 50cm in length and is a very fast swimmer.

Amazingly, this species also has the ability to 'breathe' by absorbing oxygen through it's tail/cloaca --- a feature known as bimodal respiration.
Studies show that the turtle can stay submerged for three days, or possibly even a week, in the right conditions! (I loves me bum-breather!)

The Mary River Turtle, which was once plentiful, is now in the top 25 endangered turtles in the world, due to their eggs being eaten by foxes, cats and dogs, and their nests being trampled by cows. What a sad and ridiculous way to have your eggs destroyed! Obviously, the collection of such an enormous amount of eggs for the pet industry made a huge impact as well, which has only compounded the detrimental effect of soil erosion, and soil and water pollution.

Thankfully, the planned Traveston Dam, which would have seriously increased the threat to the turtles and their habitat was just canceled in November 2009, after being contested by many individuals and environmental groups.

All in all, it's obvious that the Mary River Turtle is an incredible and unique beast, and a great example of how human concern and action can help to preserve a species. Still more work to do, though!

Tanks for say no to dat damn dam, Meester Environment Minister Peter Garrett! Yoose is savins me!


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