Summer rains awaken dormant Western Australian desert turtles

Summer rains awaken dormant Western Australian desert turtles

phone casino real money Widespread rainfall across Western Australia’s desert region has allowed dormant turtles to dig out of their burrows. On the edge of the Western Desert near Wiluna, veteran herpetologist Brian Bush has observed turtles taking advantage of the wet weather.

San Donato Milanese ivermectin for humans for sale philippines « A lot of people are probably unaware that there are turtles in the desert areas, » he said. « During the dry [the turtles] basically just excavate in the soil. »

Bosanska Krupa ivermectin tablets for humans over the counter Flat-shelled long-necked turtles (chelodina steindachneri) are endemic to the mid-west region of Western Australia and have evolved to survive the often harsh conditions. The specimen Mr Bush photographed had a notable patch of green algae on its shell.

« I’d say it was probably in a clay pan that was like cement and it took a while to soften for the turtle to release, » he said.

« And during that period the algae was growing on the back of its shell where it was exposed. »

Mr Bush said the species was amazingly resilient, having to survive in a region with low annual rainfall.

« I found a juvenile in an old truck tyre and the turtle couldn’t get out of the water because the water level was too low. It had no doubt got in there with more water around, » he said.

« As it dried it was stuck in there. But the temperature of that water, I reckon you could boil an egg. It would have been like turtle soup and this little turtle was still alive.

« To live in Australia’s deserts you’ve got to be pretty tough. »

Region experiences above-average rainfall

In less than two months, Wiluna has already received 115 millimetres of its annual average of 260 millimetres of rainfall.

To survive the dry times, Mr Bush said the turtles burrowed into the earth to protect themselves and slow their system down.

Close up of a flat-shelled Long-necked turtle (chelodina steindachneri), near Wiluna, WA in February 2017.

« Once they’ve locked in there there’s little moisture lost, and being reptiles they have little ability to lose moisture anyway with their watertight skins, » he said.

« In fact, some of Australia’s freshwater turtles can respire through their backside, breath through their bottom basically.

« When they’re not moving they just go into a state of suspended animation. »

The shells of adult fresh water turtles can grow to about 25 centimetres, and the head and neck is roughly that length again.

Mr Bush said the colour of the turtles could vary from almost black to a pale green and brown, like the specimen from Wiluna.

Surviving in a desert environment meant that turtles had to make the most of the good times.

« If the water hole they’re in is quite small and there’s not ladies there, they’ll move around from waterhole to waterhole, » Mr Bush said.

« Because they’re opportunists, they’ve got to take the opportunity when there’s moisture around or water around for them to feed and breed.

« There’ll be lots of little turtles running around shortly. »

Piggy-backing burrowing frogs

Scrambling around outside in the rainy conditions around Wiluna last week, Mr Bush also observed frogs taking advantage of the wet.

« All the other frogs are basically burrowers and do the same thing as the turtles, » he said.

« Once they burrow into the soil, they lay down a cocoon of body fluid which sets, and stops defecation during the dry times.

A male shoemaker frog (neobatrachus suitor) riding on the back of a female, near Wiluna, WA

« They just aestivate there, waiting until the rains and the moisture soaks down, wakes them up and they come out. »

Many of the frogs he observed were amplexing, or riding each other around.

« The boys, which are often smaller than the girls, get a piggy back around and wait for the female to lay the eggs, » Mr Bush said

« Once a boy meets a girl, he grabs hold of her and hangs on.

« It’s actually the males taking the opportunity to hang onto the girl he finds so that when she deposits her eggs, he’s there to externally fertilise them. »