Sunday, April 15, 2012

Creature Feature: Eastern Snake-Necked Turtle.

ReptileFest is awesome. For those of you who aren't so into reptiles, ReptileFest is an annual convention in Chicago with snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodilians, and a ton of cool merch. It's not as hardcore as a breeder convention, and is a good crash course in reptiles for those of you who are just curious about scaly creatures. We certainly have plenty of people into reptiles, here, including some in-state Burm breeders!

That said, I was bound to find some good blog fodder there. My own photos will be up on this blog tomorrow, but for now, please make due with one of the very few turtles on this blog thus far:

Looking like a snake did it with a turtle, the common snake-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) is probably one of the freakiest  turtles on the planet. It is native to the swamps, lakes and slow-moving rivers of Queensland down to Southern Australia, the land where monsters are born. It eats any animals small enough to fit in its mouth, so mostly fish, insects, and worms.

Starting with the obvious again, that neck is probably the longest, proportionately, amongst turtles. It can stretch longer than the turtle's carapace - which is all of its body, by the way. It has to bend its head sideways to fit it into its shell rather than withdrawing completely.

Aside from its strange appearance, this turtle has at least one odd thing about it: It stinks. No, really. When threatened, snake-necked turtles musk like certain ratsnakes do. If their smell is anything close to what some snakes can produce, it is definitely worthy of the nickname "stinker."

It's really a shame I'm not more of a turtle person. I'm sure there are plenty of weird turtles out there, but I don't look at them enough to pick out the particularly outlandish ones. Fear not, turtle fans; vote on my next poll for a Turtle Week and this problem shall be remedied.

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