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Podcast: The bum breathing Johnstone River snapping turtle.


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Despite its name, the Johnstone River snapping turtle is no snappier than any other freshwater turtle – and is perhaps better known by its alias, the ‘bum breather’. According to turtle expert Alistair Freeman, this ability for cloacal respiration is thought to enable bum breathers to stay under water for prolonged periods to avoid predation – although this is still only theory.

Robust and adaptable, the Johnstone River snapping turtle is an important contributor to keeping its freshwater ecosystem healthy, thanks to its enthusiastic consumption of detritus and dead things. When it’s not hoovering up these tasty morsels, it enjoys hanging out in areas of river with deep pools and riffles, and healthy riparian vegetation.

Alistair is a Senior Technical Officer for the Queensland Government’s Aquatic Species Program and joins us to share his expertise and insights into the quirky turtle!

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