What do they look like? The largest of the long-necked turtles, the broad-shelled turtle’s combined shell and extended neck lengths may exceed 80cm. The shell is usually dark grey-brown in colour, as is the upper part of the head and neck, while the throat is pale grey or creamy in colour.
Where do they live? Broad-shelled long-necks are rarely seen out of the water. They utilise large, slow-moving or still bodies of water in south-eastern Australia, from southern Queensland to eastern South Australia. During winter they hibernate by burrowing into the mud on the river bottom. They can be found in the Murray-Darling River system of South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland, and coastal rivers of south-eastern Queensland, including Fraser Island.
What do they eat? These turtles lie in ambush, partially hidden in the mud on the river bottom. The head is all that is visible, awaiting a passing fish or frog. These are snatched with tremendous speed by thrusting out the neck with the mouth open wide. Prey items as big as ducklings may taken by particularly large turtles.
Behaviour: During the Australian summer months, groups of long-necked turtles will sometimes migrate overland in search of new rivers, streams, swamps or lagoons.
Reproduction: The female broad-shelled turtle usually lays her eggs in autumn, between March and May. About 12 hard-shelled eggs are laid in a riverbank nest and are left to incubate all through winter, hatching many months later in spring.
Threats: Long-necked turtles are often caught by freshwater fishermen in their lines and wild turtles are sometimes found with the hooks still embedded in their mouth.
Conservation Status: Common.