The white-throated snapping turtle is a critically endangered species according to both Australian and Queensland state legislation.
Also known as the southern snapping turtle, it occurs mainly within the Burnett River, Mary River and Fitzroy River catchments of Queensland.
Facing threats of egg predation by dogs, foxes, pigs and goannas, the species is suffering from an ageing population as inadequate numbers of young are making it to maturity.
Since 2017, we have been conducting surveys of the white-throated snapping turtle and its potential habitat in the Upper Dawson River catchment. These surveys have formed part of impact assessments for gas field projects. They include:
- Conducting visual observations of turtles in numerous waterholes – to assess the extent of populations
- Mapping turtle habitats (foraging and nesting) along local watercourses – to enable impacts on the species to be assessed without disturbing the species or their habitat
During the warmer months of the year, white-throated snapping turtles can be relatively easy to detect. By observing them with binoculars or a spotting telescope from a suitable vantage point on the bank of the waterhole, turtles can often be seen basking on logs and rocks.They also come to the surface to breathe, where they can be identified by taking note of their distinctive facial features.