The reptile shop next to our regular cafe has placed a large tank containing Eastern Longnecked Turtles (Chelodina longicollis) where they can be observed from outside the shop. These turtles are quite common in the waterways of eastern Australia and are one of the few native animals often kept as pets.
We sat next to this window today so I spent quite a bit of time enjoying watching the turtles paddle languidly around their tank. These turtles shells are about the size of a bread and butter plate – although they do get up to dinner plate size as they get older.
It was easy to observe the undersides of these animals with their ochre and black patterned shell. Unlike my drawing, the turtles shells are fairly oval in shape. It appeared that each animal had a different pattern on the underside of its shell.
When the turtles surface for air they ‘hang’ in the water with just their nostrils above the water’s surface. No doubt a sensible strategy to reduce the possibility of being grabbed by a bird of prey.