Australian flatback turtle

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Information about the Australian Flatback Turtle

Scientific Name: Natator depressus

Description: The Australian flatback turtle's head has a single pair of prefrontal scales (scales in front of its eyes). Carapace is bony without ridges and has large, non-overlapping, scutes (scales) present with only 4 lateral scutes. The Australian Flatback turtle's Carapace is oval or round and body is very flat. Flippers have 1 claw. Edge of carapace is folded and covered by thin, non-overlapping waxy scutes. The carapace of the Australian Flatback turtle is olive-grey with pale brown/yellow tones on margins and the flippers creamy white. The scutes of the hatchlings form a unique dark-grey reticulate pattern, and the center of each scute is olive colored.

Size: Adult Australian flatback turtles measure up to 3.25 feet in carapace length (99 cm).

Weight: Adult Australian Flatback turtles weigh an average of 198 pounds (90 kg).

Diet: Australian flatback turtles eat sea cucumbers, jellyfish, mollusks, prawns, bryozoans, other invertebrates and seaweed.

Habitat: Australian flatback turtles refer turbid inshore waters, bays, coastal coral reef and grassy shallows.

Nesting: Australian Flatback turtles nest 4 times per season. Lays an average of 50 eggs at time, but these are comparatively quite large. The eggs incubate for about 55 days. When the hatchlings emerge, they are larger than most species.

Range: The Australian Flatback turtle has a very limited range. Australian Flatback turtles are found only in the waters around Australia and Papua New Guinea in the Pacific.

Status: U.S. - Listed as Endangered (in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future) under the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act. International - Listed as Critically Endangered (facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Threats to Survival of Australian flatback turtles : Sea turtles are threatened with capture, harvesting of eggs, destruction of nesting beaches, ocean pollution, oil spills and entanglement in fishing and shrimp nets.

Population Estimate*: 20,285 nesting female flatback turtles.

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Australian Flatback Turtle