The oblong turtle of the South West

Patricia BoltBusselton Dunsborough Times
The South Western snake-necked or oblong turtle can often be seen as road kill between October and January each year.
Camera IconThe South Western snake-necked or oblong turtle can often be seen as road kill between October and January each year. Credit: supplied/supplied

Turtle eggs and young have high mortality — their shell is no match for vehicles travelling on roads adjacent to wetlands, lakes and rivers, and the South Western snake-necked or oblong turtle can often be seen as roadkill between October and January each year.

Their 40cm-long bodies and snake-like necks and an oblong carapace are easily recognisable and they weigh less than 2kg.

As the weather warms up, they come out — first the females, who try to cross busy roads to reach sandy soils where they dig and deposit 2-16 leathery eggs.

Then come the surviving hatchlings between June and August, the size of a 20¢ piece, attempting to make their way back to a body of water which could be up to a kilometre away.

Here is what we can do to aid their survival:

Protect nests and egg-laying turtles from disturbance.

Be observant. If you notice them becoming trapped in a yard or building, guide them elsewhere.

Take note of wildlife signs and drive carefully.

Be prepared to stop and allow them to pass.

If you find an injured turtle, call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.

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