The punk rock turtle with a bright green mohawk

September 30, 2008

It looks like an aquatic version of Johnny Rotten in his punk heyday after a heavy night on the tiles.

But that spiky green quiff isn’t gelled hair – it’s growing algae.

And the creature sporting the spectacular coiffure is the Mary River Turtle, one of the most unusual reptiles of its type on the planet.


Shell shocked: The Mary River Turtle is having a Green Day, but his hairdo is just algae growing on his head


The Mary River Turtle has become a popular figure with Australian environmentalists who say the endangered creature is being further threatened by Queensland State Government’s plans to build a dam on the river.

It is one of the more unusual species of turtles as it breathes through lung-like structures in its tail and needs shallow water to survive.

It was described formally by scientists only in 1994 and little is known about it.

The hairsute creature was captured by amateur photographer Chris Van Wyk as it quietly waded in the shallows.


King of the river: The turtle wades through the water looking for his next meal

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