So what are turtles? Does Australia have tortoises? No Australia has no land tortoises. In the confusing world of the turtle, we refer to our freshwater, webbed feet chelonians as freshwater turtles. Marine turtles have flippers and are restricted to saltwater.
Turtles both freshwater and marine are fully aquatic only emerging to lay eggs and freshwater turtles bask on logs etc. Marine turtles have flippers and only come ashore when they lay eggs. Tortoises are clubbed feet and land animals (They only occur overseas).
Commonly Seen Freshwater Turtles
Long – necked Freshwater Turtle.
The most common turtle is the Long – necked Freshwater Turtle (Chelodinia longicollis), very distinctive and well know. Often found wandering after rain, crossing roads or wandering into yards.
Murray river turtle, (Emydura macquarii macquarii)
Sub – species: Krefft’s turtle, (Emydura macquarii krefftii), Fraser island short-neck turtle, (Emydura macquarii nigra), Cooper creek turtle, (Emydura macquarii emmotti).
A large 300mm freshwater turtle occupies much of the drainage off the Murray River systems. Pet established populations occur around several large cities. Omnivorous but largely favours semi aquatic and sub emergent vegetation.
Kreftt’s Freshwater Turtle
These turtles are common both out of their range and with their distribution. Kreft’s Turtles have colonised waterways when escaped or dumped pets. While usually associated with warm waterways.
Saw -shelled Freshwater Turtle (Myuchelys latisternum)
Another beautiful tropical turtle, seen around eastern Australia. Females are larger than males averaging 240 – 280mm. Males under 180mm. Preys on fish, tadpoles, crustaceans and sometimes cane toad tadpoles.
Introduced – potentially threatening species.
Red eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
A main pest species, this is a potentially disastrous noxious introduced pest. All specimens need to be euthanized. Sliders have very distinctive markings around their face which all other Melbourne species do not. If in doubt seek advice.