Fam­ily finds pe­cu­liar-look­ing rep­tile of record-break­ing size

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MELINDA BRAD­FORD

WHEN a Booyal fam­ily came across a pe­cu­liar-look­ing tur­tle far from a wa­ter source, they were sur­prised.

But lit­tle did they know they were in for an even big­ger sur­prise. At 305mm long, the saw-shelled tur­tle they found is the largest of its species ever recorded.

Ge­off Dick­son and his fam­ily made the rare dis­cov­ery re­cently near their property at the end of Marule Rd, Booyal.

“It was in a bit of a strange spot – there’s no wa­ter there,” he said.

“As soon as I saw it, I knew it was un­usual ... I’ve seen a lot of tur­tles but noth­ing like that,” he said.

Mr Dick­son con­tacted lo­cal rep­tile ex­pert Ian Jenk­ins, who soon con­firmed the species was in fact a rare find due to its size.

Prior to this tur­tle’s dis­cov­ery, the largest saw-shelled tur­tle recorded was 287mm.

Mr Jenk­ins be­lieves the tur­tle was seek­ing out a new wa­ter source when the Dick­son fam­ily made the dis­cov­ery.

“She was quite away from wa­ter, but they can travel kilo­me­tres from one wa­ter source to the next,” he said.

He has shared the rare find with world-renowned tur­tle ex­pert John Cann, who he says just hap­pened to be in the mid­dle of a study on the species in the Bur­nett catch­ment.

“In the end it’s been worth­while ... it’s quite in­valu­able for his re­search,” Mr Jenk­ins said.

Mr Jenk­ins praised the fam­ily for hav­ing the fore­thought to in­ves­ti­gate the tur­tle’s ori­gins fur­ther.

“This is all down to some­body who took the time to stop and pick her up. If he hadn’t both­ered to do that, we wouldn’t have found her, no­body would have known that they get to this size and John Cann wouldn’t have that in­for­ma­tion.”

The tur­tle has spent some time at Snakes Down Un­der Rep­tile Park and Zoo un­der­go­ing DNA test­ing and will soon be re­leased back to the wild.


RECORD BREAKER: Snakes Down Un­der Rep­tile Park and Zoo’s Ian Jenk­ins with the largest recorded saw-shelled tur­tle, which was found at Booyal re­cently.

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