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Tiny Snake-Necked Turtle Hatchling at National Zoo

A snake-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) hatched at the National Zoo's Reptile Discovery Center in late March. The hatchling is not yet on exhibit because staff would not be able to monitor it. This is the first such hatching at the Zoo in three years.




Photo Credits: Mehgan Murphy / National Zoo

In mid-April, the hatchling weighed one-tenth of an ounce and its carapace (shell) was just an inch long. When it reaches adult size in a few years, it may be 11 to 35 ounces, depending on its sex—males tend to be a little smaller than females. Its carapace length may be 7.9 inches. One snake-necked turtle captured in the wild was a female weighing 52 ounces!

Snake-necked turtles can be found in eastern Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. They are carnivorous and will eat fish, amphibians, crustaceans, insects, worms, and mollusks.