Turtle that breathes through its genitals is added to endangered list

With a plume or fluorescent green hair, you might mistake this turtle as a puppet from The Muppets .

But the turtle is very much real, and worryingly, it has just been added to the Z oological Society of London ’s Endangered List.

The creature is a Mary River turtle – a bizarre species that can stay underwater for up to three days by breathing through its genitals.

Mary River turtles can be found in south-east Queensland, Australia, and became popular pets in the 1960s and 1970s.

Unfortunately, this led to the species’ demise, and very few now remain in the wild.


The Mary River turtle joins a host of other reptiles on the Endangered List, including the world’s largest sea turtle, the leatherback and the gharial, a freshwater crocodile once common across much of Asia but now confined to a handful of rivers in northern India and Nepal.

Rikki Gumbs, who co-ordinates the list, said: “Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals.

“However, the EDGE Reptile List highlights just how unique, vulnerable and amazing these creatures really are.

“From the world’s largest sea turtles to a blind species of snake found only in Madagascar, the diversity of EDGE Reptiles is breath-taking.”

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