Pair of Emydura macquarii - Warrawong
Physical description
HabitatFreshwater lakes, rivers and streams
Lifespan70 - 100 years
Average Size5 inches (12 cm) - 2 feet (60 cm)
Average weight1 pound(0.6 kg) - 10 pounds (5.2 kg)
Scientific classification
Distribution of speciesAustralia, New Guinea and Indonesia.

The Australian short-necked turtles, Emydura, are a genus of turtles in the family Chelidae. It was paraphyletic with Elseya. Consequently, Elseya was split into two genera Myuchelys and Elseya by Thomson & Georges, 2009.[1] They can grow quite large, 30 cm or more is not unusual and have a life span of around 20–30 years. They generally do not hibernate as their warmer climate lets them remain active all year round; they also spend more time in the water than other varieties. They are considered omnivore but rely on a constant supply of meat to remain healthy, feeding on basically anything that will fit into their mouth. They are characterised by a white strip starting at their nose and leading down their neck, as well as a more rigged shell. In Australia, the public require a basic reptiles licence to purchase these animals; taking from the wild is strictly prohibited. Species and notable subspecies arranged according to most recent review of Georges & Thomson, 2010[2] are:


  1. Thomson, S. & Georges, A. (2009) Myuchelys gen. nov. —a new genus for Elseya latisternum and related forms of Australian freshwater turtle (Testudines: Pleurodira: Chelidae) Zootaxa 2053: 32–42.
  2. Georges, A. & Thomson, S. 2010. Diversity of Australasian freshwater turtles, with an annotated synonymy and keys to species. Zootaxa 2496: 1–37.
  3. Gray, J.E. 1830. A synopsis of the species of the class Reptilia. pp 1-110 in Griffith, E. The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organisation by the Baron Cuvier. London: Whitaker and Treacher and Co. 9:481 + 110pp.
  4. Krefft, G. 1876. Notes on Australian animals in New Guinea with description of a new freshwater tortoise belonging to the genus Euchelymys. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale de Genova. 1:390-394.
  5. Cann, J. 1997. The northern yellow-faced turtle. Monitor 9(1):24-29, 34-35.
  6. Gray, J.E. 1841. Description of some hitherto unrecorded species of Australian reptiles and batrachians. pp 51-57. in Gray, J.E. Zoological Miscellaney. London: Treutal, Wurtz and Co.
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