Carettochelys-insculpta, Hog-nosed Turtle

Carettochelys-insculpta

 Hog-nosed Turtle

TheCarettochelys-insculpta, Hog-nosed Turtle Hog-nosed Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta), also known as the Australasian Pig-nose Turtle, Pitted-shelled Turtle, Plateless Turtle or Fly River Turtle, is a species of soft-shelled turtle native to freshwater streams, lagoons and rivers of the Northern Territory of Australia and of southern New Guinea. It is a living fossil, being the only living member of the family Carettochelyidae, and the only known species in the subfamily Carettochelyinae and the genus Carettochelys.
 

The Pig-nosed Turtle is unlike any other species of freshwater turtle in the world, and the one that is best adapted to an aquatic lifestyle, with the exception of marine turtles. The carapace is typically grey or olive in colour, with a leathery texture, while the plastron is cream-coloured. The feet are flippers, resembling those of marine turtles. The nose looks like that of a pig, having the nostrils at the end of a fleshy snout, hence the common name. Males can be distinguished from females by their longer and narrower tails. Pig-nosed Turtles can grow to about 70 cm shell-length, with a weight of over 20 kg.

Unlike the softshell turtles of the family Trionychidae, the Pig-nosed Turtle retains a domed bony carapace beneath its leathery skin, rather than a flat plate. They also retain a solid plastron, connected to the carapace by a strong bony bridge, rather than the soft margin of the Trionychids[1].

The species is omnivorous, eating a wide variety of plant and animal matter, including the fruit and leaves of the fig as well as crustaceans, molluscs and insects.Females do not reach maturity until at least 25 years old. They lay their eggs late in the dry season on sandy river banks. When the offspring is fully developed, they will stay inside the eggs in hibernation, and not hatch before the eggs have been flooded with water, which means the rainy season has started and offers the hatchlings a best possible start in life.

Behaviour

Pig-nosed Turtles are almost entirely aquatic. Little is known about general behaviour as there have been few studies in the wild. Their aggressiveness in captivity seems to suggest that this species is markedly more territorial than most other turtles and tortoises.

In captivity

Pig-nosed Turtles have become available through the exotic pet trade, with a few instances of captive breeding. While juveniles are small and grow slowly, their high cost and large potential size makes them suitable only for experienced aquatic turtle keepers. They tend to be shy and prone to stress also getting sick easily, which can cause problems with their feeding, but they are known to eat commercially available processed turtle pellets or trout chow, as well as various fruits and vegetables. Breeding is rarely an option to the hobbyist, as adults are highly aggressive and will attack each other in all but the largest enclosures.