The most striking thing about the appearance of the Mary River turtle is its habit of hosting growths of algae on its body, like the green mohawk and whiskers of this turtle photographed by Chris Van Wyk. But notice also the fingers coming from its chin. We first introduced you to the Mary river turtle ten years ago, but this strange creature is back in the news because it has been put on an endangered species list.
The 40cm long turtle, which is only found on the Mary river in Queensland, features in a new list of the most vulnerable reptile species compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Despite the turtle’s punk appearance – derived from vertical strands of algae that also grow on its body – its docile nature made it historically popular as a pet.
Gill-like organs within its cloaca – an orifice used by reptiles for excretion and mating – enable it to stay underwater for up to three days, but it was unable to hide from the pet collectors who raided its nests during the 1960s and 1970s.
Strange how we pay attention to animal species mainly when we’re about to lose them. Read more about the Mary river turtle at The Guardian. -via Dave Barry