Fitzroy River Turtle

Fitzroy River Turtle

Summary

Fitzroy River turtles grow up to 25 centimetres long, are oval-shaped, are medium to dark brown in colour (with darker blotches) and have distinctive white eyes.

Fitzroy River Turtle

Rheodytes leukops

Description

Fitzroy River turtles grow up to 25 centimetres long, are oval-shaped, are medium to dark brown in colour (with darker blotches) and have distinctive white eyes. Both adults and young turtles have rough ridges on their shells. Adults have pointed lumps on the skin of their necks which might act as sensors, like a cat’s whiskers.

Food and habitat

They eat plants (river weeds, freshwater sponges, algae, bark) and animals (insects, snails), and live in shallow parts of rivers where water moves faster and forms small rippled waves (called ‘riffle zones’). They also like large, deep pools with rocky, gravelly or sandy bottoms.

Conservation

The Fitzroy River Turtle is listed as vulnerable, which means they need people to help protect their fragile habitats.

The problems that the turtles face threats from:

  • foxes, pigs, dogs and feral cats eating eggs from their nests.
  • floods, people and cattle disturbing river banks—the turtles’ feeding and breeding areas.
  • dams and weirs, which can stop them swimming to feeding or nesting areas.
  • agriculture and mining reducing water quality in local waterways from extra fertilisers, pesticides, soil or salt in the water.

You can help protect the turtles. Volunteers are working to protect nests by revegetating river banks, controlling weeds and telling people about the turtles. Learn more about getting involved in volunteer activities.
Are you a grazier? They have fenced off river banks to keep cattle out. Boat owners—listen up! Your job is to keep an eye out for turtles near the surface of the water and avoid them.

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