Physical description
HabitatFreshwater lakes, rivers and streams
Lifespan70 - 100 years
Average Size12 inches (30 cm) - 2 feet (60 cm)
Average weight3.5 pounds(2 kg) - 10 pounds (5.2 kg)
Scientific classification
Gray, 1867
Distribution of speciesAustralia, New Guinea and Indonesia.

The Australian Snapping Turtles, Elseya Gray 1867[1], are a large genus of side-necked turtles in the family Chelidae found in river systems in northern and north eastern Australia and throughout the river systems of New Guinea[2]. They are identified by the presence of alveolar ridges on the triturating surfaces of the mouth and the presence of a complex bridge strut[3].

The Australian Snapping Turtles are largely herbivorous with specialized mouth structures for eating fruits, however they will eat animal products if opportunity arises. The various species can be found in large numbers where they are still abundant, e.g. Northern Territory of Australia, however a number of the populations have become increasingly rare and some are now listed as endangered.



  1. Gray, J.E. (1867) Description of a new Australian tortoise (Elseya latisternum). Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 20: 43-45.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Thomson, S., Georges, A. and C. Limpus, (2006). A New Species of Freshwater Turtle in the Genus Elseya (Testudines: Chelidae) from Central Coastal Queensland, Australia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology|Chelon. Conserv. Biol. 5(1): 74–86. PDF fulltext
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thomson, S., White, A. & Georges, A (1997) Re-Evaluation of Emydura lavarackorum: Identification of a Living Fossil. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum (1997),42(1):327-336
  4. Gray, J.E. 1863. On the species of Chelymys from Australia, with the description of a new species. Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 3(12):98-99
  5. Ouwens, P. A. 1914. List of Dutch East Indian Chelonians in the Buitenzong Zoological Museum. Contributions a la Faune des Indes Neelandaises. 1:29-32.
  6. Cann, J. 1997. Irwin's Turtle. Monitor 9(1):36-40.
  7. White, A. & Archer, M. 1994. Emydura lavarackorum, a new Pleistocene turtle (Pleurodira: Chelidae) from fluviatile deposits at Riversleigh, Northwestern Queensland. Records of the South Australian Museum 160-167.
  8. Thomson, S. & Mackness, B. (1999) Fossil Turtles from the Early Pliocene Bluff Downs Local Fauna, with a description of a new species of Elseya. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 123(3), 101-105, 30 November 1999.
  9. De Vis, C.W. 1897. The extinct freshwater turtles of Queensland. Annals of the Queensland Museum. 3:3-7.
This article appears to be imported directly from Wikipedia. Please help this page along to try and adapt it to the theme of Reptipedia and conform to the Manual of Style. Thank you.