Steve Burgess from the Mary River Catchment Co-ord Committee with a Mary River turtle - possibly the largest freshwater turtle in Australia.
Steve Burgess from the Mary River Catchment Co-ord Committee with a Mary River turtle - possibly the largest freshwater turtle in Australia.

Could this be biggest freshwater turtle in Australia?

A TURTLE that might be the largest freshwater turtle recorded in Australia has been found on the banks of the Mary River.

The Mary River turtle, which weighed more than eight kilos and had a 24cm shell circumference, was found when the Tiaro Landcare group was carrying out a population assessment.

Tiaro Landcare president Marilyn Connell said the turtle might be the largest freshwater turtle found in Australia, but she was still investigating.

FASCINATING ANIMALS: Glenda Pickersgill releases a Mary River turtle back into the river during a recent population assessment.
FASCINATING ANIMALS: Glenda Pickersgill releases a Mary River turtle back into the river during a recent population assessment. Contributed

The turtle, believed to be between 30 and 60 years old, was also a good representative of most of the turtles found by the group during the population assessment - a large, older male.

Ms Connell said 51 turtles had been tagged during the assessment.

She said the male turtles might be on the move in search of females.

As the research continued, she said she hoped to find a greater cross-section of turtles - more adolescents and females.

She said the population assessment would be a two-year project and so far the results were "pretty good".

She stressed that it was still early days.

Ms Connell said heavy rain had caused flooding through the river which was adding to the challenge of compiling research, which was being done in a joint effort between the New England University and Tiaro Landcare.

"We just have to adapt," she said.


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