Reptiles     |     Dogs     |     Cats     |     Small Pets     |     Birds     |     Horses

A Primer on

Australian Eastern

Long Necked Turtles

Please Help us Stop

Animal Abuse with

a Gift of One Dollar

The Australian Eastern Long-necked Turtle, also known as the
Eastern Snake-necked Turtle, the Common Snake Necked Turtle,
Eastern Long Neck Tortoise, and scientifically as Chelodina
longicollis, is a semi-aquatic freshwater active turtle
found only in Eastern Australia. The Eastern Snake-neck has
been known to feed on land and spends quite a bit of its
time there. They are one of the most terrestrial turtles in
Australia as there are no box turtles or other land
tortoises native to Australia.

This turtle gains it common names justifiably, as its neck
is very long, sometimes as long as its carapace. Its broad,
flattened shell is dark brown with black edges to each
scute. The plastron (undershell) is usually white,
yellowish, or cream, with black or dark brown along the
seams. Its beak is slightly upturned; the long neck is dark
on top and light yellow or cream underneath, and covered
with pointed bumps. The legs and tail are grayish brown, and
it has large webbed feet. When frightened, the Eastern
Snake-necked Turtle will give off a very bad-smelling musk
and retract its head into its shell by bending the neck

The Eastern Long Neck Tortoise lives in the wild in slow-
flowing rivers, streams, lagoons and swamps, and is
omnivorous, eating amphibians and other aquatic animals and
insects, and aquatic vegetation. When their shallow water
homes dry up during the dry season, they will migrate to
other waters or aestivate in the mud on the bottom of the
river at the deepest point, breathing through their cloacae,
so when housing the Australian Eastern Long-necked Turtle in
captivity, bear in mind that this is a cold climate turtle
and may try to hibernate in cold weather.

For indoor housing you will need a tank of at least sixteen
square feet per turtle, as they are very active and,
although they are sold at a very small size, they will grow
up to eight inches long.

The water area must be large enough and deep enough that if
the turtle gets overturned in the water it can right itself,
so at least nine inches deep is best. Water should be well
filtered and changed very often, and the pH should be tested
regularly and kept at seven and one half to eight. Keep the
water temperature at between sixty and seventy degrees
Fahrenheit (sixteen to twenty Celsius) with an automatic
aquarium heater.

Also provide a dry basking area with a ramp so the turtle
can easily get into and out of the water, and a land area
large enough for the turtles to dry out completely. Don't
use a glass cover on the tank because it may prevent
sufficient drying and lead to shell rot. Pegboard or other
ventilated covering is best.

Position a basking light (a red or blue light) at one end of
the dry area so that the area underneath it is kept at
around seventy to eighty degrees F. (twenty-two to twenty-
six degrees Celsius) and leave it on at night also. Put the
aquarium near a window (but not in direct sun) or use a
white incandescent light to give the turtle a day and night

If at all possible, once the turtle is three or four years
old give it an outdoor habitat securely fenced by opaque
fencing. Provide a large pool with sloping sides for safe
access and egress, plants for shade and hiding places, and a
covered area to get out of the rain. Make sure at least part
of the enclosure gets plenty of sunshine, and cover the pen
if necessary for safety from predators.

As previously stated, the Australian Eastern Long-necked
Turtle is omnivorous, but it eats more meat than vegetation.
Feed your turtles a variety of six to ten bite sized pieces
of fish, earthworms, crickets, moths, and other insects, or
commercial turtle food, feeding only once or twice a week,
depending on the maturity of the turtle. Feeding in a
separate feeding tank will help to keep the primary tank

This is not an easy species to keep in captivity, so be sure
to do your research as well as trying to find others
experienced with keeping Eastern Long Neck Turtles to give
you their experience in keeping this species in your climate
and location.

Custom Search

Delightful Turtle & Reptile Calendars

Plush Turtles, Reptiles & Animals

Site Map