General Animal Information

Snake-Necked Turtle (Macrochelodina rugosa)

Snake-necked turtle, any of about 16 species of turtles belonging to the genera Chelodina and Macrochelodina in family Chelidae, characterized by long necks that can bend and move in a serpentine fashion. Snake-necked turtles are a group of side-necked turtles with necks that range from nearly as long as to slightly longer than the shell. These turtles inhabit the waterways of Australia and southern New Guinea. In addition, these reptiles possess the longest neck of any group of turtles in the world. Since the neck is so long that it cannot be retracted completely beneath the margin of the shell. In fact, you can only find side-necked turtles south of the equator. The snake-neck turtle uses its flexible slender neck to lift its head out of the water to take in a breath of air without exposing the entire body.

Because all snake-necked turtles appear to be strongly aquatic animals, they prefer to walk along the bottom of streams and other water bodies rather than swim. Furthermore, these turtles are carnivores and prey on fish. When hiding from predators or stalking prey, the neck is folded against the body. Once the prey is close, the neck and head lunge forward, and the turtle opens its mouth and throat to create a vacuum. In addition to water, prey is sucked into the mouth, which quickly snaps shut. The mouth will open slightly to allow water, but not the prey, to escape.

The Snake Neck Turtle can get rather large, reaching lengths of up to sixteen inches. This reptile is known for having insatiable appetites. Thier menu includes pinkies, minows, commercial reptile food (we suggest Mazuri products), bloodworms, prawns, snails, crickets, and even leafy greens) and the key to keeping them healthy in captivity is a varied diet.

All snake-necked turtles are egg layers, and one species, the northern snake-necked turtle, will lay eggs in nest chambers beneath the water. Immediately after the eggs are deposited, the embryos go into diapause (a period of dormancy) and resume development only when the nesting chamber dries during the dry season. The clutch of eggs hatch 9 to 10 months after egg deposition and just as the rainy season begins.

Rather shy animals by nature, captive-bred Snake Neck Turtles lose this trait over time and with handling. These turtles are friendly and can be housed with others.  There are several subspecies of the Snake Neck Turtle that are threatened or endangered.

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Crazy Critters Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)3, Exotic Animal Rescue and Wildlife Education Facility located in Eustis, Florida. We provide permanent homes to over 150 animals including lizards, turtles, skinks, geckos, birds, and assorted wildlife. Crazy Critters Inc. was established to provide non-domestic, non-releasable animals with a safe and permanent home.

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