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Shellebrate with us!
- Friday 17th May 2019
At SEA LIFE Melbourne we are fortunate enough to have five species of turtles including the Eastern Long-Necked Turtles, a Mary River Turtle, Murray River Turtles, Pig-nosed Turtles and Flatback Turtles. What better way to SHELLebrate World Turtle Day than to tell you all about these beautiful, unique creatures.
Eastern Long-necked Turtle
Also referred to as a Snake-necked Turtle, the Eastern Long-neck’s shell will eventually grow to around 25cm in length, with its neck almost the same length.
Their neck can be up to 60% of the length of their body. They have long claws to tear apart their prey and are commonly referred to as 'stinkers' because when they are startled they produced a really bad smell. Ewww.
Murray River Turtles
The Murray River Turtle have a life-expectancy similar to humans with some living until 75 years old! Most of their day is spend foraging for fruit and aquatic plants along the bottom of rivers and waterways.
Mary River Turtle
These funny looking reptiles have barbels like goatees on their chins and a beautiful pattern on top of their head. Unfortunately the Mary River Turtle is the second most endangered Freshwater Turtle in the world. One factor is due to the fact they don't reproduce until they're 25-30 years old!
This Freshwater Turtle uses its unique snout like a twin snorkel. The Pig-nosed Turtle is native to the freshwater rivers, streams and lagoons of the Northern Territory and parts of southern New Guinea.
With its large, webbed flippers, buttercup-yellow chin and wonderfully strange little snout, this charismatic mishmash of a reptile is unlike any other freshwater turtle in the world.
Flatback Sea Turtle
Our Flatback Sea Turtles are ambassadors for their species and are helping us understand more about their challenges in the wild. Our Sea Turtles love to eat a variety of prawns, fish, squid, pipis and vegetables. Flatbacks are one of seven species of Sea Turtles in the world. However they are the only known species to solely lay their eggs on Australian beaches. Flatbacks lay fewer eggs per nest (approx. 50) then other species of sea turtle however the eggs are larger in size. Flatbacks will migrate to other countries to feed but will always return to their birthplace in Australia to nest. They can grow to 90cm long, weighing up to 80kg.
Turtle Rescue at Sea Life Melbourne
SEA LIFE Melbourne has now rescued and rehabilitated 14 Sea Turtles! Nearly all seven species of Sea Turtles are classified as endangered, and that is mostly due to human activity.
Blair from Blairgowrie
Blair arrived in December 2013 weighing just 4.5kg and was released two years later at 25kg. When she came in she was severely underweight, had pneumonia and her shell was damaged. We got her feeding, gave her the right medication and applied iodine daily to fix her shell. She was released in Mallacoota, Victoria, with a satellite tag so we could track her movements.
Terry the Turtle
Terry the Green Sea Turtle – thought to be aged between 3-5 years - was rescued from Rye beach on the Mornington Peninsula in August 2017 after being discovered in poor health and weighing only 7.7kg. Terry spent the last seven months undergoing specialised rehabilitation at SEA LIFE Melbourne, a program managed by the aquarium’s aquarists and veterinary team, and made a full recovery, most recently tipping the scales at a healthy 15.8kg.
More about Sea Life Conservation here
Keep your cup to help keep turtles!
Limited edition Keep Cups for World Turtle Day
As World Turtle Day (May 23) approaches, SEA LIFE attractions across Australia and New Zealand have launched a limited edition World Turtle Day Keep Cup in order to raise much needed funds for these ancient creatures, many species of which are critically endangered.
$5 from the sale of every Keep Cup will go to SEA LIFE’s charity arm - the SEA LIFE Trust - to help in their endeavour to protect turtles through research, campaigns and education.
SEA LIFE Trust Manager Claudette Rechtorik sees this initiative as a great way for the public to help turtles and the environment at the same time: “Sea Turtles have been a part of the marine ecosystem for millions of years, and it’s devastating to see their numbers in the wild dwindling, with single use plastic a huge contributor to the problem.
“A simple thing we can do to help is most definitely using a reusable cup when out and about, which is why this initiative is a great step in the right direction. If everyone used a reusable cup, imagine the HUGE difference it would make to the planet, the ocean and its creatures.”
Over a thousand marine turtles have called one of the SEA LIFE family of aquariums across Australia and New Zealand home over the years, most of which have been rescued, rehabilitated and released.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, along with the SEA LIFE Trust, will be using the proceeds of the Keep Cup to fund a Sea Bin, which will help curb the growing amount of marine debris that is ending up in the Yarra River.
SEA LIFE attractions across Australia and New Zealand regularly hold clean ups on and around waterways, with over 4000kg of rubbish being collected thus far in 2019.
The limited edition Keep Cup can be purchased online when buying a SEA LIFE ticket, or via SEA LIFE attraction’s gift shops for $30.