The pig-nosed turtle is unlike any other species of freshwater turtle. The feet are flippers, resembling those of marine turtles. The nose looks like that of a pig, having the nostrils at the end of a fleshy snout, hence the common name. The carapace is typically grey or olive, with a leathery texture, while the plastron is cream-coloured. Males can be distinguished from females by their longer and narrower tails. Pig-nosed turtles can grow to about 70cm carapace length, with a weight of over 20kg.


The pig-nosed turtle is native to freshwater streams, lagoons and rivers of the Northern Territory of Australia, as well as to the island of New Guinea, where it is believed to occur in all the larger, and some smaller, southward-flowing rivers.


Pig-nosed turtles are omnivorous, eating a wide variety of plant and animal matter, including fruit and leaves, as well as crustaceans, molluscs and insects.


Female pig-nosed turtles reach maturity at 18 years, and males around 16 years. They lay their eggs late in the dry season on sandy riverbanks. When the offspring are fully developed, they will stay inside the eggs in hibernation until conditions are suitable for emergence. Hatching may be triggered when the eggs have been flooded with water or by a sudden drop in air pressure signalling an approaching storm.