A pink snake that looks just like a worm, a bright-turquoise gecko, and a green-mohawked turtle that breathes through its behind — odds are you’ve never seen them, and according to a new list of “rare and cryptic” critically endangered reptiles, unless action is taken to preserve their habitats, you never will.
The Zoological Society of London in April released a list of the 100 most Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (Edge) reptiles which, according to the Edge website, “have few close relatives on the tree of life and are often extremely unusual in the way they look, live and behave, as well as their genetic make-up.”
Perhaps most extraordinary in appearance — and beloved in the media this month — is No. 29 on the list: Elusor macrurus, the Mary River turtle. Found only in the Mary River in Queensland, Australia, the reptile features what look like stalactites sprouting from its chin, along with long strands of green algae on its head reminiscent of a mohawk, or perhaps a troll-doll hairdo.
This Mary River turtle has a rather fetching punk hairdo made of green algae. (Image: Chris Van Wyk) pic.twitter.com/o3ksnL2MUJ
— Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) February 14, 2018
The Mary River Turtle from Australia having a bad hair day… (Image: Chris Van Wyk) pic.twitter.com/9Lbk6wgJLu
— Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) July 2, 2014
This green-haired turtle breathes through its genitals. It’s called the Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus) and it’s one of the world's most endangered turtle species. 😢 pic.twitter.com/rASKSXNXHj
— Nameless Network (@namelesstv) April 12, 2018
Although it sports notably large nostrils, scientists have discovered it actually breathes through a gill-like mechanism inside its cloaca. In short, it breathes through its butt, not its nose.