Pig-nose Turtle - Carettochelys Insculpta
The first specimen recorded from Australia was found in the Daly River, Northern Territory, in 1969. It has since been discovered in a number of the coastal rivers of the Northern Territory and, with all probability, it may be found to occur in many rivers along the north coast of Australia
Unlike the Australian tortoises, the carapace of the Pig-nose Turtle is not covered with horny laminae, but with a thin, fragile skin which is easily broken when the turtle comes into contact with a rough or hard surface. A turtle damaged in this manner responds favourably to treatment and quickly returns to its original condition.
The nesting habits of this freshwater turtle have yet to be recorded in Australia, but will probably prove similar to those observed in New Guinea. Ken Slater, in Australian Territories (August 1961), states that the eggs are laid in May, but this conflicts with many other observations, and could indicate that there is more than one nesting each year.
The Pig-nose Turtle prefers stretches of water with a sandy bottom where it can bury its vulnerable undersurface when threatened. Juveniles kept in captivity have been observed to practise this extensively. Once settled into the sand of the aquarium, they would bury their rear legs and then attempt to cover the carapace by flicking sand onto their backs with their two front flippers.
The relationship between the Pig-nose Turtle and the sea is not known. It has been caught in river estuaries but this may be a seasonal activity. It has been suggested that the Australian population of this species is the result of a recent migration from many New Guinea, but many consider this unlikely.