The "punk turtle" has been put on the endangered species list

Green-Haired, Genital-Breathing Turtle Added to Endangered Reptiles List

An Australian river turtle with a distinctive green punk-rock hairstyle, two spikes under its chin and the ability to breathe through its genitals is on a new list of endangered reptiles.

All of the information is based upon a study researchers published in the journal PLOS One that collected and analyzed information about the species.

Almost 20 years later, John Cann, a Sydney-based turtle enthusiast, rediscovered the turtle in the Mary River in Queensland. The only species in its genus, the Mary River turtle diverged from all other living species around 40 million years ago. "From the world's largest sea turtles to a blind species of snake found only in Madagascar, the diversity of EDGE Reptiles is breath-taking".

The Mary river turtle (Elusor macrurus) is one of the of the most remarkable creatures on our planet.

Mary River turtles can be found in south-east Queensland, Australia, and became popular pets in the 1960s and 1970s.

The turtle, with its green mohawk, is one of the world's most distinctive reptiles.

Even when an animal is designated as an endangered species, that does not mean it is automatically protected.

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What appears to be hair on the Mary river turtle is actually algae.

Rikki Gumbs, a reptile biologist at ZSL, explained in a CNN interview that the turtles take a long time to mature, as much as 25 or 30 years.

Destruction of the creatures' natural habitat through the building of dams, as well as the collection of its eggs for the pet trade, piled on the survival pressure.

He said: "Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals".

Gumbs adds: "Just as with tigers, rhinos and elephants, it is vital we do our utmost to save these unique and too often overlooked animals. Many EDGE reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages".

Already on the Queensland Endangered Species List, the Mary River turtle is notable because it is a cloacal ventilator, which means it breathes oxygen using special glands in the orifice used for reproduction and excretion.

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