The world of fauna is indeed very diverse and full of all kinds of unique creatures. Have you ever heard of the Pig-Nosed Turtle? This species of turtle is popular in the world of turtles for several reasons.
Are you willing to adopt a Pig-Nosed Turtle as a pet, or are you just curious about these turtles in general? Whatever your reasons are, it’s always a good idea to get an insight into these wonderful creatures. Given below are 30 facts about the Pig-Nosed Turtle that you might not have known before.
Check these out.
What does a Pig-Nosed Turtle look like?
The Pig-Nosed Turtle is a large species of a turtle whose shell grows as much as 70 centimeters (28 inches) in length. In terms of weight, these turtles are considered to be heavy, too.
An average-sized Pig-Nosed Turtle weighs about 20 kilograms (44-50 lbs). They have small, dark eyes, with whitish blotches spread all around them. Their nose is snout-like, with a mouth that opens wider than it looks just beneath it.
The upper part of the shell (carapace) of the Pig-Nosed Turtles is usually of olive to brownish in color, while the color of the lower shell (plastron) ranges between white to cream-yellow.
What are other names the Pig-Nosed Turtle is called by?
Although the Pig-Nosed Turtles are called so in most parts of the world, they have been given a few other names as well. Their binominal name is Carettochelys insculpta.
The following are the other names used to refer to Pig-Nosed Turtles.
- Hog-Nosed turtle
- Pitted-Shelled turtle
- Fly River Turtle
Do the Pig-Nosed turtles live on land or on water?
The Pig-Nosed Turtles are dominantly aquatic turtles and almost never leave the water. They reside in freshwater sources such as rivers, lakes, swamps, streams, wetlands, water holes, and lagoons.
You can also find these turtles living in deltas and estuaries. Once in the water, the Pig-Nosed Turtles love to go as deep as about 7 meters. The only time the Pig-Nosed Turtles (female) ever leave the water is when they lay eggs. Even then, they return to water soon after the process of laying is over.
What are the ideal temperatures for the Pig-Nosed Turtles to thrive?
In the summer season, the ideal temperature for the Pig-Nosed Turtles ranges between 26 and 28 degrees Celsius. However, during the winters, they like the temperature of their habitats to be between 31 and 32 degrees Celsius.
The Pig-Nosed Turtles also prefer limestone rivers as a residence because of their relatively higher pH levels (8.2 in the dry season and 7.5 in the wet season). They thrive in rivers with high water conductivity.
How did the Pig-Nosed Turtle get its name?
As you can easily guess from their names, the Pig-Nosed Turtles are called so because of the unique structure of their nose.
Unlike other turtle species, the nose of the Pig-Nosed Turtles is shaped like a pig’s, with a fleshy snout and nostrils at ends. It is also the reason why they are called “hog-nosed”, for the domesticated pigs are called hogs.
Why are the Pig-Nosed Turtles called “Fly River Turtle”?
The Fly flows through Papua New Guinea and is the largest river of Oceania. Moreover, it is the largest river in the world without a dam. But what does that have to do with the Pig-Nosed Turtles? Well, the Pig-Nosed Turtles have densely populated the Fly as their habitat. Hence, they are called “Fly River Turtle”.
Why is the Pig-Nosed Turtle different from the other freshwater turtle species?
All the freshwater species have a more or less a similar body structure. However, Pig-Nosed Turtles have one major difference.
The difference between the two is about how their feet are formed. While the freshwater turtle species have webbed feet with soft skin and sharp claws, the feet of the Pig-Nosed Turtles are more like the marine turtle species. Instead of being webbed, their feet are modified into flippers.
Are the Pig-Nosed Turtles vegetarian?
No, the Pig-Nosed Turtles are omnivorous and eat both plants as well as animals. In the plant category, they like to eat the fruits and leaves of figs and other plants that grow along the banks of the river they reside in.
Whereas, in the animal category, these turtles prefer eating worms, insects, mollusks, small fish, and crustaceans such as crayfish, shrimp, prawn, krill, lobster, etc.
Although the Pig-Nosed Turtles are omnivorous, if given a choice, they prefer eating plants and fruits over animals. It is because of this herbivore tendency that most people believe them to be vegetarians.
How long do the Pig-Nosed Turtles live?
If a Pig-Nosed Turtle is living in the wilderness, its life expectancy is somewhere between 25 to 30 years. However, if you have adopted one and care for it properly and lovingly, you might find your pet to be living longer than that. Pet Pig-Nosed Turtles have often lived to be as old as 40 years.
How can you distinguish between a male and a female Pig-Nosed Turtle?
In comparison to other turtle species, it is relatively easier to distinguish between a male and a female Pig-Nosed Turtle. It is because the differences between the two are pretty straightforward. There are two physical differences to look for.
One, if the two turtles are of the same age, the body of the female Pig-Nosed Turtle is bigger than that of the male. The other difference is in their tales. While the females have shorter tails, the tail of the male is longer and thicker.
What is the most interesting physical trait of the Pig-Nosed Turtles?
As is apparent from the name, the most interesting physical trait of the pig-nose turtles is their nose. Their pig-like nose lends them a sense of smell that is much stronger than other turtle species.
They also use their nose as a snorkel to breathe in water. When they are hunting prey in murky waters, their nose helps them a great deal.
Which animals prey on the Pig-Nosed Turtles?
While the Pig-Nosed Turtles have a strong shell, they are not invulnerable. In many cases, these turtles end up becoming food of the crocodiles who live in rivers or seas.
While the crocodiles are the only animals known to prey on the Pig-Nosed Turtles, they are surrounded by other threats as well. As we mentioned before, a female Pig-Nosed Turtle moves out of water in the nesting season and lays her eggs on the ground.
After this, she returns to her habitat. Since the eggs are left unguarded on the ground, animals like buffaloes, wild pigs, and lizards trample and destroy them on the ground.
Are Pig-Nosed Turtles endangered?
Yes, the Pig-Nosed Turtles are endangered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared them to be endangered and also includes them in the Red List of Vulnerable Species.
At what age do the Pig-Nosed Turtles mature sexually?
The female Pig-Nosed Turtles reach sexual maturity at the age of 18 years, while their male counterparts mature sexually at the age of 16 years. When these turtles reach their full sexual maturity, the size of the shell is about 25-30 centimeters long.
How do the Pig-Nosed Turtles mate?
Very little is known about the mating process of the Pig-Nosed Turtles. However, we know that these turtles aren’t loyal to one mating partner for their whole lives.
This is not surprising, since polygyny is popular in several turtle species. Also, the mating of the Pig-Nosed Turtles probably takes place in the water, since the male Pig-Nosed Turtles never leave the water.
Are the Pig-Nosed Turtles oviparous?
Oviparous animals are those who lay eggs that hatch into their younger ones later. The Pig-Nosed Turtles are oviparous and lay eggs once every two years. The females lay about 7 to 39 eggs in a clutch. Each egg has a diameter of 39 mm and weighs about 35 grams.
The nesting season for the Pig-Nosed Turtles of Australia is between July and November, while the Pig-Nosed Turtles who live in New Guinea nest between September and February.
How do the Pig-Nosed turtles protect their eggs?
Unlike many other animal mothers, the female Pig-Nosed Turtle who has laid the eggs doesn’t stay on the ground and guard the eggs until they hatch into baby turtles. The females return to water soon after the nesting.
However, to protect their eggs from any threat, mother turtles build a shallow nest to store their eggs. The building process takes place during the night. It is not built much far from the shore.
What is the incubation period of a Pig-Nosed Turtle’s eggs?
The incubation period of the Pig-Nosed Turtle’s eggs is between 65 to 103 days at a temperature of about 30 degrees Celsius.
Do humans eat Pig-Nosed Turtles?
Yes, the meat of the Pig-Nosed Turtle is popular among people who live in the areas where they are found. The large-scale exploitation of these turtles for their meat is in fact the leading cause of their population decline. The meat and eggs of Pig-Nosed Turtles is a delicacy in Papua New Guinea.
Is it legal to keep a Pig-Nosed Turtle as a pet?
The Pig-Nosed Turtle makes an exotic pet, which is why it is popular in the black market. Due to the threat of pet traders on their already vulnerable populations, the trade of Pig-Nosed Turtles is illegal. However, if you already have one and are caring for it properly, you have nothing to worry about.
Is it a good idea to keep the Pig-Nosed Turtle as a pet?
Many people believe that turtles are low-maintenance. However, this is not true, particularly in the case of Pig-Nosed Turtles.
Although these turtles need little in terms of company, keeping them healthy is a difficult job and should not be undertaken by amateurs.
We recommend you to get a pet Pig-Nosed Turtle only if you are well-acquainted with turtles and can tackle them well.
How much does it cost to buy a Pig-Nosed Turtle?
The price of a Pig-Nosed Turtle ranges between $600-800 in the international market.
Do the Pig-Nosed Turtles bite?
The Pig-Nosed Turtles are by nature peaceful and do not have an offensive tendency. Since they are well-protected by their hard shell, they rarely feel threatened. However, if at any instance they feel the need to protect themselves, they can bite you.
Do the Pig-Nosed Turtles get lonely?
No, the Pig-Nosed Turtles do not get lonely. Like most of the other turtle species, these turtles are not social animals and do not need a constant company to keep them happy or pacified. They are mostly content in being left alone and even get irritable if interrupted too much.
Are the Pig-Nosed Turtles aggressive?
Yes, the Pig-Nosed Turtles are among the most aggressive and territorial of all turtle species. They like their own space and tend to get into a quarrel with other turtles if they feel that their territory has been encroached.
Can you keep more than one Pig-Nosed Turtles in the same tank?
While keeping several baby turtles in the same tank is okay, it is a bad idea to keep more than one grown Pig-Nosed Turtle in a single tank.
Ideal living conditions for your pet Pig-Nosed Turtles at home
If you have a pet Pig-Nosed Turtle, it is either already too large to stay in a tank, or soon will be. Therefore, it is best to keep these turtles in a large aquarium, a pond, or a pool.
You can also add some aquatic plants in their habitat to let them enjoy these whenever they want. If it is possible for you to create certain hiding places for them to play around, it’s perfect. Since the Pig-Nosed Turtles like to stay in water at all times, creating a basking space for them is unnecessary.
It is also essential that you take proper care of the water and filtration. Although they do not need sterile water, you should provide them with clean water at regular intervals.
You should also keep the temperature of the water between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit at all times since that is the ideal temperature for your pet turtle.
If you want to add more aquatic life in their habitat to make them feel home, you can add a few kinds of fish. However, don’t add suckerfish or any other aggressive species that might harm your pet.
What do pet Pig-Nosed Turtles eat?
We’ve already established that the Pig-Nosed Turtles are omnivorous in nature and they eat both plants as well as animals in the wild. However, feeding these turtles in captivity can be a difficult task.
You might need to train them to adapt to store-bought turtle feed because it contains all the nutrients necessary in their diet. Once they are well-acquainted with their daily diet, you can start feeding them treats of bananas, apples, figs, lettuce, etc.
Mealworm and pinky mice are healthy for them, too. Unlike other pet animals, the Pig-Nosed Turtles do not need to be fed several times a day.
In fact, you should feed your pet turtle on alternate days. Feeding them at night is ideal. Just be careful to remove anything they’ve not eaten soon after to keep the water clean.
Do Pig-Nosed Turtles carry any diseases?
The Pig-Nosed Turtles do not carry any specific diseases other than the ones all turtle species carry: E. coli and Salmonella.
All turtles carry Salmonella in their droppings, which can make their tanks infected, and can even spread into people. Therefore, it is essential that you change their tank water routinely. We also recommend you to wash your hands thoroughly after touching them and avoid kissing them at all costs.
If you have children at home, be careful about how they play with turtles. Children, the elderly, and other people with a weak immune system are more prone to catch these diseases than healthy adults. If you have one such member at home, it is best not to get a pet turtle.
Do the baby Pig-Nosed Turtles have the same diet as the adults?
No, the Pig-Nosed Turtles have different dietary needs growing than when they are fully-grown. Unlike adults, baby turtles need to be fed every day. Most of their dietary needs are the same. However, unlike adult turtles who prefer a largely vegetarian diet, their younger ones are more inclined towards insects, mollusks, and other animal matter.
Summing it up: Pig-Nosed Turtle Facts
To sum it up, the Pig-Nosed Turtles are quite unique as far as turtles go, both because of their appearance as well as their other peculiar characteristics. If you want to keep a pet Pig-Nosed Turtle, this article might come in handy. However, if you already have one, you can get interesting insights on them.