Pig-nosed turtle

Carettochelys insculpta

The only representative of its genus, its characteristics are unmistakable. This is the only turtle with a prominent snout that gives it its name. Its carapace, covered with a thin skin, is a uniform grey to dark brown on the upper part with a cream-coloured plastron. Its feet are flippers like marine turtles, better adapted to swimming. It is exclusively aquatic, living in rivers but able to make a few incursions into the ocean. Its omnivore diet consists in fish, crustaceans, snails and fruit. Its snout is adapted to searching for prey in the mud.

During the dry season, the females lay their eggs in the upper part of river banks or beaches, after digging a nest. Only when the water level goes up again at the end of the dry season will the eggs hatch when the nest becomes covered with water.

This species has become endangered due to the quality of its flesh, appreciated by local populations in Papua. The eggs are also widely consumed, and destroyed by the herds of buffalo that trample the river banks where the nests are located. Breeding programmes are underway, notably in Australia, but unfortunately the results have been fairly limited so far.

Tortue à nez de cochon - Carretochelys insculpta
Main photo credit : Tortue à nez de cochon - Carretochelys insculpta *