The Oblong turtle has a very long, thick neck and is commonly found in permanent waterways of the far south west of Western Australia. This turtle has the ability to aestivate during sustained periods of drought. Their head is strongly depressed and their carapace is very oblong in shape (hence the name).
The Oblong turtle’s shell is not as hard as other members of the genus Chelodina and this can be a problem when they are under stress in captivity.
Because these turtles have only recently become available to the pet trade there has not been enough information gathered on their captive maintenance. It appears that this is a turtle that can be quite shy and can quickly develop stress related illnesses. The mistake that many new keepers make is in not offering their turtle adequate hiding areas.
Signs of stress related illness include the development of shell rot and skin ulcerations. It has been a sad fact that many wild caught Oblong turtles have died in captivity. A leading turtle expert and friend of ours Craig Latta, believes that they would be more suitable captives if they were purchased as hatchlings and if the water that they inhabit was a little brackish . They prefer water that is ‘tannin-stained’ or turbid (not clear). One of the easiest ways to provide turbid water is to add clay to your aquarium or pond.
I feel that perhaps this is a turtle for the more advanced keeper and its closest western relative, the Steindachner’s turtle Chelodina steindachneri, would be a far more suitable species for beginners. Unlike Chelodina steindachneri, the Oblong turtle often emits a foul odour from its scent glands when handled.
Oblong turtles in the wild eat small fish, tadpoles, insects, frogs, small crayfish, freshwater prawns and carrion. Hatchlings have been known to eat aquatic plants, insects and mosquito larvae.
Clutch sizes vary from two to sixteen eggs and hatchlings have been observed in early spring.