05 December 2007


Fly River Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta), Vulnerable

Fly River Turtles, having a unique nose, are also referred to as Pig Nosed Turtles. And this is pretty self-explanatory. They are the only freshwater turtles to have flippers resembling those of marine turtles.

Back in March of 2004, a San Francisco pet shop owner smuggled 14 live baby Fly River Turtles into the United States, hiding them in his clothes. He was caught, and the turtles confiscated and given to zoos and aquariums in California. Last Thursday, he pleaded guilty to the charges, and in February, will be sentenced.

These animals, found in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, are protected in these countries as well as by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). They are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, with the declines in their population being noted over the past decade. Probably the largest contributor to their decline? Over-harvesting by humans.


Katie said...

Ridiculously enough, I could swear that I saw one of those in a lake as a little kid. It's burned into my memory--I was really little, and playing in the shallow water at the edge of the lake my aunt and uncle had a cabin on, and the turtle scared me to death. It was underneath the dock, and it had a really long and pointy nose like that, and it was rather aggressive. I ran up to the house to try to get a bucket to catch it in, but it was gone by the time I got back. I remember being a little glad, because it really scared me with its ugly pointy nose, and I was a pretty afraid to try to catch it.

This is significant because I've always wondered what kind it was, it wasn't the kind on your blog because those are NOT from Michigan, and I have very few childhood memories, so that turtle that looked like the Fly River Turtle must have been cool too.

Organic said...

Katie, it was probably a soft shelled turtle. They're a different color and can be confused with the fly river turtle if you're not too familiar with aquatic turtles :)