Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

'Punk' turtle that breathes through its butt makes endangered reptile list

'Punk' turtle that breathes through its butt makes endangered reptile list

Australia has no plan to save the unique animal despite its extreme vulnerability and no known government money is allocated to its conservation.

This ability accounts for these creatures having the vibrant green mohawk caused by algae growing on their heads due to the extended amount of time they spend submerged in the water.

The reproductive opening that it breathes through is also used for excretion.

The turtle can stay underwater for up to three days.

According to researcher Marilyn Connell, its most closely related species lived about 50 million years ago. To let it go extinct would be a huge mistake and failure of the humankind. Part of the problem is that they are extremely localised - only existing in the Mary River in Queensland.

A native of Queensland, Australia, the turtle was one of 100 reptiles added to the catalogue this week.

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'It is an entire class of species missing from the current national recovery efforts'. According to the Edge website, "The Mary River Turtle takes an exceptionally long time to reach sexual maturity, with individuals not breeding before the age of 25". In the debate over saving endangered species, it may be that some should get priority just because of how weird they are.

This, despite the fact that it was a popular pet in the 1960s and 1970s.

Roti Island snake-necked turtle, #6 on the list.

The Mary River Turtle lives in well-oxygenated, flowing sections of streams.

It also has long fleshy barbels, or feelers, under its chin. It breathes through its genitals. But, none of these reptiles behave like Mary River.

The Mary River turtle is omnivorous, feasting on plant matter like algae, mollusks and other small creatures. Once, these turtles were known as "Penny Turtles".

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A statement from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection a year ago said that the University of Queensland was looking at habitat requirements and threats to the Mary River turtle, but that more information was needed to know how to protect it. It was classified as a new species.

The turtle's habitat is not fully protected, Mr Cann said, and the introduction of new fish species to the waterway also threatened juvenile turtles. They survived millions of years and to see them go extinct now would be a bad shame.

The species has suffered through the years from the illegal pet trade.

Previously, they put out lists for mammals and amphibians.

- The global populations of 3,706 monitored vertebrate species - fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles - declined by almost 60 per cent from 1970 to 2012.

One of the stranger members of the turtle family has sadly joined a list of the most endangered reptile species on the planet.

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- Of these, 5,583 were "critically" endangered, 8,455 "endangered", and 11,783 "vulnerable".

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