Geographic Range. Pig-nosed turtles have a very restricted range, being found in the northernmost river systems of the Northern Territory of Australia and in. The pig-nosed turtle is the sole surviving member of its entire family, Carettochelyidae, and sits alone on a branch of the tree of life reaching back around Learn more about the Pig-nosed turtle – with amazing Pig-nosed turtle videos, photos and facts on Arkive.

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Arthur Georges 1J.

Alacs onsculptaand Mark Rose 2. It is restricted to the southern rivers of New Guinea and the rivers of the Northern Territory in Australia. Carettochelys is therefore a distinctive geographic and taxonomic relict and, although locally abundant, it is rare in the sense of being geographically restricted.

Moreover, Carettochelys is unique or unusual among turtles in many facets of its morphology, ecology, and behavior. Populations in New Guinea are thought to be declining because of increased exploitation for meat and eggs for both caeettochelys consumption and the international pet trade.


This exploitation has been exacerbated in recent times by the introduction of modern technology, principally outboard motors. In addition, clan warfare has ceased, and people have moved from the hinterland to more convenient locations along river banks.

Moreover, levels of commercial activity such as logging, mining and exploration for oil, gold, and copper and fishing have increased in recent times, bringing larger human populations, both indigenous and non-indigenous, into closer contact with turtle populations.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

In Caregtochelys, feral animals have posed a threat through widespread trampling of nesting banks and destruction of riparian habitat. Other potential pressures include aggressive pastoral and agricultural practices that push the land in the important catchments beyond capability.

Such agricultural development, if not accompanied by appropriate and effective land management, can result in erosion, destruction of riparian vegetation, siltation of water courses, reduction and altered timing and duration of dry season environmental flows, which can lead to gross degradation of riverine habitat as we have seen in the southern states of Australia. Urgent research is required to determine trends in population numbers and levels of exploitation in New Guinea, and to identify and implement management options for the sustainable exploitation of Carettochelys.


ADW: Carettochelys insculpta: INFORMATION

In Australia, improved knowledge of caerttochelys distribution of Carettochelys is required, especially the status of populations in the Victoria River, so that the value of the two known major populations in the Daly River and Alligator Rivers region can be adequately assessed.

Wet-season habitat requirements, extent of seasonal movements, and requirements of juveniles are unknown, yet this information is needed to gauge the possible impact of proposed or potential development within catchments and to gauge the adequacy of existing reserves for protecting the species. The subspecific designation by Wells does not constitute a publication for the purposes of nomenclature, and adequate differentiation of the New Guinean and Australian populations as subspecies has not been presented.

Carettochelys insculpta Ramsay — pig-nosed turtle, Fly River turtle.

Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: Chelonian Research Monographs No. Photo by John Cann.