Lifespan: Up to 75 years
Height: Up to 48cm
There are many lifestyle differences between turtles and tortoises. At Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, we display freshwater turtles (also known as terrapins).
Most freshwater turtles eat both plants and meat, but some species are entirely herbivorous or entirely carnivorous. Freshwater turtles take advantage of the potential food sources around them and are not fussy about their meals. Depending on the species, turtles feed on a mixture of invertebrates, crustaceans, fish, tadpoles and aquatic plants.
Seed dispersal and vegetation management, control of insect and snail populations and keeping water clean by scavenging dead animals are just a few of the things turtles do to help their ecosystems.
All but one of Australia’s freshwater turtles fall into the family ‘Chelidae’ of ‘side necked’ turtles. Instead of pulling their heads inward under the shell, they tuck them to the side for protection.
A turtle’s shell is made of modified ribs and covered with specialised scales called ‘scutes’. These scutes shed as the turtle grows.