Fly River Turtle/Pig-Nosed Turtle

Fly River Turtle/Pig-Nosed Turtle   Carettochelys insculpta

Type of Animal:

Freshwater/brackish water: Streams, lagoons, rivers, estuaries, lakes, swamps, pools, river deltas, waterholes, billabongs, ponds, coastal areas, creeks, thermal springs, found in water 3-9 ft (up to 22 feet deep), nests on beaches/sandy riverbanks/shores (often forested but not always), prefers stable clear water w/ high pH/alkalinity, soft/sandy/gravel bottom & ribbonweed beds, females prefer sandy flat rock microhabitats, males prefer isolated log microhabitats, sometimes found in open sea.

S New Guinea & major river systems of NW Northern Territory in Australia

Distinct piglike nose w/ 2 wrinkly nostrils, flippered feet like sea turtles (only freshwater turtle w/ true flippers), fleshy snout, females bigger than males, leathery grey/olive carapace (upper shell), cream plastron (bottom shell), males have longer/narrower tails

Fruit (especially figs & bush apples), eel weed, shrimp, aquatic plants (especially water hyacinth, watercress, duckweed & waterweeds), worms, fish, leaves, insects, snails, crayfish, crabs, insect larvae, bats, flowers, algae, greens, seeds, carrion, vegetables

Status in Wild:

Breeding from zoos, aquariums, & private breeders


Additional Info:


Male-30 lbs
Female-45-50 lbs

2 months 

Life Span:
25 years in wild, 35 years in captivity

Body Length:
Male-1.5 ft
Female-2.29 ft

Tail Length:
Male-5-6 in
Female-3 in

Main predators of adults are crocodilians. Monitors prey on eggs.

Endangered due to pet trade, egg collection, harvesting for meat, water pollution, habitat loss/alteration, trampling of nest sites, water buffalo eating riverside vegetation, increased siltation of rivers, mining, mineral/oil exploration, & changes in vegetation/water flow due to agricultural activities.

Sexually mature at 16 years old.

Lay eggs in late dry season & eggs hatch at start of wet season.

They grow rather slowly.

Fun Fact(s):
Snout acts as snorkel when swimming.

Over 50% of females in given population have mating scars from male biting neck or male scratching female’s carapace w/ his claws

Males never leave water & females only do so to nest.

Only member of its genus (Carettochelys) & family (Carettochelyidae) in existence today.

3 thoughts on “Fly River Turtle/Pig-Nosed Turtle


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