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Meet the punk rock turtle that breathes through its genitals heading for extinction

Published: 24 APR 2018 09:23AM

Words by Johan Jacobsen | Staff Writer


THIS is the Mary River Turtle which is native to Australia, found in the river of the same name. in Queensland.

Although it sports a rebellious punk rock Mohican, this relatively unique looking character is extremely docile in nature and has now been added to ZSL’s (Zoological Society of London) vulnerable and endangered species list.

The list is unique in not only considering extinction threat but also how evolutionarily unique a species is.

This particular species of turtle can also survive under water for up to 3 days by using a Gill-like organ within its genitalia to absorb oxygen into its bloodstream.

Rikki Gumbs, co-ordinator of Edge reptiles, said: “Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals. However, the Edge reptiles list highlights just how unique, vulnerable and amazing these creatures really are.”

“Just as with tigers, rhinos and elephants, it is vital we do our utmost to save these unique and too often overlooked animals. Many Edge reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages, whose branches of the tree of life stretch back to the age of the dinosaurs. If we lose these species there will be nothing like them left on Earth.”

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