Sporting a snazzy hairdo with the ability to breathe through his bum, Alby the white-throated snapping turtle is the newest addition to Alexandra Park Zoo.
The endangered turtle was introduced to his new enclosure today after travelling from his former home at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary.
Bundaberg Regional Council zookeeper David Flack said Alby represented an important local species that the facility was keen to highlight.
“We got him as a representative of an endangered species of our local Burnett River,” David said.
“It’s important for us to feature it because we have a focus on conservation and education.
“Having an endangered species like this here at the zoo we can use that to educate the public about factors that this species face in the wild such as predation by other animals and destruction of their natural habitat.”
The white-throated snapping turtle is only found in the Mary, Burnett, Raglan and Fitzroy River catchments.
“They’re only found in those four river systems,” David said.
“They are classified as endangered in Queensland.”
He said the turtle had some unique qualities.
“These are a bum-breathing turtle so they actually have the ability to absorb oxygen through their backside,” David said.
“So they actually need flowing, well oxygenated water so they can do that absorption.
“Absorbing oxygen they can stay under water a lot longer than a normal turtle.
“In the wild they typically spend a fair bit of time submerged.”
But David said not to worry as Alby’s new enclosure, which is currently in the final stages of completion, would ensure zoo visitors could see him.
“He will spend a lot of time underwater but we have a filtration system here that will keep the water pretty clear.”
Zoo goers may also notice Alby’s groovy hair which David said was a result of natural algal growths.
“That’s to do with nutrient levels in the water and also being exposed to the sunlight just like in a swimming pool,” he said.
“It’s a natural thing that happens, it just gives him a cool looking hairdo.”
The white-throated snapping turtle is also predominantly herbivorous.
Environment portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said it was great to see another local species introduced to the zoo.
“This is a very big focus of Council,” Cr Honor said.
“This is the most visited community facility that we have in the Bundaberg Region.
“The Alexandra Park Zoo is second to none in Queensland in that it has a focus on native animals to this area.
“It is extremely important to promote good conservation and environmental practice.”
Residents can visit Alby the white-throated snapping turtle from tomorrow.
Alby is the second animal welcomed to the zoo this year with Crunchy the quoll also settling in well.