Flatback turtle

Flatback Turtle (Natator depressa) Flatback Turtle, Natator depressa.
Photograph by Dr Colin Limpus.

Natator depressus

Identification: 

A medium-sized turtle (shell length 80 cm to 1 m).  The shell has upturned edges and is covered with thin, fleshy skin.  Grey to pale grey-green.

Distribution: 

Found in the waters of northern Australia; endemic to the Australian continental shelf.

Habitat: 

Soft-bottomed, inshore waters.

Food: 

Soft-bodied, bottom-dwelling invertebrates and jellyfish.

Breeding: 

Lays up to 80 large eggs – in Queensland, nesting occurs between late November and late January (eastern coast) and all year round with a mid-year peak in Torres Strait and the Gulf of Carpentaria. The major rookeries are on the inshore, continental islands of the southern Great Barrier Reef and in the north-eastern Gulf of Carpentaria and western Torres Strait. Crab Island, just off the western tip of Cape York, is the largest rookery.

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