The Mary River Turtle

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This is the Mary River Turtle. They’re called that because they live in the Mary River in Queensland, Australia. They’re great lovers of sunbathing, and because of their large feet, they’re incredibly fast swimmers. They have barbels under their chins that they use as feelers when searching for food along the riverbank. They also have long tails, webbed hands and feet with claws, and get this, when they’re underwater, they can breathe through their butts! Well, actually, they have gill-like structures on their bottoms called bursae. Because of these, they’re sometimes known as “bum-breathers.”

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This adorable turtle is probably the largest freshwater turtle, but unfortunately, it’s endangered. They used to be such popular pets that thousands of them were sold and separated from others of their kind. As a result, not as many baby Mary River Turtles were born.

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Not all have opted for the punk rock hair style that the one in the top picture sports. Some prefer buzz cuts, and some like to go bald, but whether they choose an algae hairstyle or the simple smoothness of their bare heads, you have to admit they are all pretty cute.

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