This Is One Cool-Looking Dude.....Er Turtle
Though this turtle looks like it's ready to go partyyyyyyy, the green stuff growing out of its head is not dyed hair, but green algae. If that sounds unusual, its because you are looking at a Mary River Turtle, one of the most unique reptiles on Earth.
The turtle is named after the Mary River in Queensland, Australia , which is the only place in the world that it can be found. During the 1960's and 1970's the turtles were very popular as pets. However, over the years their numbers have dwindled, and they are now amongst the most endangered fresh water turtle species in Australia. The main reason for their decreasing numbers is that of the 100 eggs that are laid each year, some get eaten by dogs and cats, while others get trampled upon by the cows in the area.
The Mary River turtle is unusual in that it breathes through lung-like structures in its tail. It therefore does best in shallow waters. The turtle's small heads and big hind legs enable it to swim at great speeds. While younger turtles feed off insect larvae and freshwater sponges, adult turtles feed largely on aquatic plants.
The turtles hibernate during winter . On extremely rare occasions they are spotted basking in the sun near the river - which is why amateur photographer, Chris Van Wyk couldn't believe his luck last year, when he saw this rare turtle wading slowly in the river, providing him all sorts of opportunities to take pictures.
The turtle has been in the news a lot lately, because of a proposed dam across the Mary River. Conservationists are concerned that if the dam is built, it may hurt the few Mary River turtles that remain, and they may disappear altogether - which would be quite sad, wouldn't it?
Sources: www.exitstageright.com, Wikipedia.org, Dailymail.co.uk