This striking medium sized freshwater turtle is recognised by their distinct colouring, they are known for their yellow markings on the underside of its shell, and tail, as well as a clear yellow stripe from the jaw, down to the neck of the shell.
The Manning River helmeted turtle, is found only on the mid north coast of NSW. More particularly, they are restricted to the middle and upper stretches of the Manning River catchment area. They are found in relatively shallow, clear, continuously fast-flowing rivers with rocky and sandy substrates.
It is apparently omnivorous (Allanson and Georges 1999; Wells 2002) but lacks the ability to catch fast moving prey, instead foraging on the benthos for less mobile food such as other macro-invertebrates, terrestrial fruit and aquatic vegetation (Allanson and Georges 1999).
Little is known about the reproduction of this elusive species, but with the Australian Reptile Park’s new breeding program, it is hoped that more information will be discovered about their breeding behaviours
This species is predominately diurnal, often seen basking on logs, rocks or the river banks near deep pools, although nocturnal foraging in shallow areas has been observed. It is estimated that this turtle species will have a lifespan of approximately 20 years.
Unfortunately, in recent years the Manning River helmeted turtle has seen quite a significant decline in numbers, although the full extent is not known. The species faces a range of threats, including; predation, illegal poaching, habitat degradation and disease. Foxes not only raid the nests and eat the eggs, the young turtles but also the mothers as they are laying them on the river bank! These have all drastically reduced individuals and also left the population vulnerable to mass extinction in the face of any catastrophic event that may occur. Additionally, water quality, food availability and suitable nesting environments are likely to also have been affected by human use of the land in adjoining areas, causing environmental changes.