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northern snake-necked turtle, Chelodina rugosa

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Northern snake-necked turtle


Long neck turtle and file snake cooking on the coals of the fire, Middle Creek, 1994 [PH]

The northern snake-necked turtle or "long neck turtle", Chelodina rugosa (family Chelidae), is found in swamps, billabongs, waterholes and slow-moving rivers throughout Cape York Peninsula.

This turtle is valued for its flesh and eggs. It can be gutted through a slit cut in its long neck, and then cooked in its shell on the coals of the fire. When it is cooked the shell is hammered open, revealing the juicy flesh inside. If it is a female, and it's the right time of the year, there may be a string of eggs inside as well. In the accompanying image a long-necked turtle is cooking on the coals of a fire with a file snake.

e-mail: Philip Hamilton.
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