Roti Island snake-necked turtle

The Roti Island snake-necked turtle is one of the 25 most threatened turtle species. Although native to the Indonesian Roti Island, these animals have not been seen there in a long time.
As its name suggests, the Roti Island snake-necked turtle (Chelodina mccordi) has quite a long neck. Its carapace is approximately 21 cm long and extends out over its legs and head. When the turtle is threatened it folds its head and long neck under the edge of the carapace.

Not much is known about this turtle species. Its habitat is presumably small fresh water lakes in high-altitude areas such as rice fields, marshes and irrigation canals. The survival of the Roti Island snake-necked turtle is very seriously endangered because this animal has been and continues to be hunted – these turtles are popular both as pets and as food – and their habitat is shrinking as well.

Worldwide there are about 250 of these animals in zoos. DierenPark Amersfoort has been breeding them for the past six years, and last May a Roti Island snake-necked turtle egg hatched there. This was, of course, cause for celebration. Eventually, these animals are to be set out in their natural habitat. The local situation has to change, though, to prevent the turtles from disappearing into the cooking pot.

There are eight to fourteen eggs in one nest; it takes the turtles 90 to 120 days to hatch. There is a good chance that more young turtles will hatch at Amersfoort’s DierenPark.