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The eastern long-necked turtle, Chelodina longicollis (Family Chelidae), has a wide distribution throughout southeastern Australia. It occupies a broad range of freshwater aquatic habitats but is more abundant in shallow, ephemeral wetlands often remote from permanent rivers. Its propensity for long distance overland migration, coupled with a low rate of desiccation and the capacity to estivate on land, enable it to exploit highly-productive ephemeral habitats in the absence of competition from fish and other turtle species. In wetter periods, such habitats provide optimal conditions for growth and reproduction. In drier periods, however, turtles may need to seek refuge in permanent water where high population densities and low productivity can lead to reduced growth rates and reproductive output. The species is an opportunistic carnivore that feeds on a broad range of plankton, nekton and benthic macro-invertebrates, carrion, as well as terrestrial organisms that fall upon the water. It is relatively slow to mature (7–8 yrs for males and 10–12 yrs for females), lays between 6 and 23 hard-shelled eggs during spring and late summer, and can produce up to 3 clutches per year. Although currently considered common and not under major threat, the most widespread conservation concern for C. longicollis is high nest predation from the introduced fox (Vulpes vulpes), and roads, pest fencing, and habitat changes brought about by prolonged drought and climate change, which present localized and potential future threats for certain populations.

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© IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group

Source: IUCN SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group

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