World Turtle that uses genitals to breathe is threatened

Adjust Comment Print

Photo This Australian turtle is making headlines around the world, the weird-looking star on a new list of threatened reptiles issued by the Zoological Society of London.

A native of Queensland, Australia, the turtle was one of 100 reptiles added to the catalogue this week. In the 1960s and 1970s, juvenile turtles were collected and sold as "penny turtles", which effectively wiped out a generation of the turtles that are slow to mature sexually and typically don't reproduce until they are 25 years old.

Other unusual and endangered species include the Round Island keel-scaled boa from Mauritius, a snake which is the only terrestrial vertebrate known to have a hinged upper jaw; the minute leaf chameleon from Madagascar which is the size of a human thumbnail; and the gharial, a slender-snouted fish-eating freshwater crocodile. It has special organs in its cloaca that allow it to draw oxygen from the water.

Take the green-haired turtle that breathes through its genitals.

According to CNN, it grows on the animals head because the turtle can live underwater for up to three days.

This is not hair, but algae.

This is the Mary River Turtle, and it is now my spirit animal. Numerous species effectively represent their own distinct branches of the Tree of Life, meaning they broke away from similar species a long time ago, and have no close relatives.

The Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (Edge) list names all the most at-risk species in the world and the Mary river turtle is ranked at 30 on the list of 572 reptiles.

The rebellious fashion choice of the Mary river turtle has caught the attention of netizens.

In an interview with The Guardian the co-ordinator of Edge reptiles, Rikki Gumbs explained how reptiles tend to be overlooked in comparison to birds and mammals when it comes to conservation. Many Edge reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages, whose branches of the tree of life stretch back to the age of the dinosaurs.