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Murray short-necked Turtle

Scientific name: Emydura macquarii
Also known as thukubi (Ngarrindjeri dictionary)
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Distinctive features

About the size of a dinner plate. Short and broad neck. Like to bask on logs. Nest in November. Rarely seen on land.


The Short-necked turtle is very abundant and common in open water, including lagoons and the mainstream of rivers. Males grow to about 2.2 kg and females may sometimes exceed 4.0 kg. They are typically olive green or bronze in colour on the carapace (upper shell) and cream underneath. The shell can be stained or covered in green algae or mud. The neck is short relative to the other species. The plastron (underside of the shell) is narrow and does not cover the legs when they are retracted.
Short-necked turtles sometimes bask on logs in the water, but otherwise they rarely come out of the water, except to nest. They probably nest close to where they normally live and usually within 50 m of the water’s edge. Nesting time in is usually from November to December, with eggs taking 6-8 weeks to hatch. Some females lay two clutches of eggs in a season and the clutch size can be up to 30 eggs.
Short-necked turtles are omnivorous, eating considerable plant material, as well as invertebrates. They are major consumers of dead animals, cleaning up dead fish and other animals in the water. They are currently listed as threatened in Victoria because they are an ageing population with low levels of juvenile recruitment.
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