The Australian Reptile Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
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Murray River Turtle

Scientific Name: Emydura macquarii

Did You Know?

These turtles have been popular pets for many years. Hatchlings are often sold as 'penny turtles', however, these will still grow into large adults and, if insufficient diet or housing is provided, the shell may become permanently deformed. Many are dumped by their owners as they grow, consequently, they are common in the ponds and lakes in many urban parks.

Also known as the Macquarie turtle or Murray short-necked turtle, this turtle can grow to about 30cm in length. The male has a much fatter and longer tail than the female. There are two fleshy barbels under its chin. The shell is predominantly medium to dark brown above, cream coloured below. The skin is greyish and there is a distinctive creamy-yellow stripe running back along the side of the head from the corner of the mouth. The eyes are small and yellow with a round black pupil.


It is restricted to the Murray-Darling River system in southeastern Australia, inhabiting larger rivers and permanent lakes in this region.


They feed mostly on molluscs and crustaceans but will also consume carrion. Adults tend to eat a large proportion of vegetable matter such as fruits and water plants.


In spring and summer about ten elongated eggs are laid in a burrow close to the river. They hatch about eighty days later. The eggs and newborn hatchlings face a long list of predators that includes goannas, rats, foxes, birds, cats and wild pigs. Adult turtles have few natural enemies.

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