Image: © Aussie Ark

Rare Turtles Breed in Captivity for the First Time


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


May 23, 2023 9:16 pm


Australian Reptile Park, New South Wales, Australia

Mating behaviour has been observed for the first in captivity between members of the threatened Manning River Turtle insurance population. Announced on World Turtle Day the mating event is a historic moment within the conservation project operated by Aussie Ark and the Australian Reptile Park.

Ten individuals are housed in Aussie Ark's 'Conservation Ark' facility at the Australian Reptile Park on the New South Wales Central Coast. This population is considered nationally significant as the only insurance population of their endangered species held in captivity. The program commenced five years ago with a triage operation to collect wild eggs and turtles threatened by drought and fire.

These animals live exclusively in the Manning River and its tributaries. Fox predation and erosion of the shoreline by grazing turtles have contributed to declines in their population.

Australian Reptile Park Operations Manager Billy Collett managed the breeding program, pairing genetically suited females with males in large tanks. Over the course of a month he was thrilled to witness, and document, the courtship and breeding of multiple pairs. 


“This is a massive historical moment for Aussie Ark!” Mr Collett said. “This is the first time we’ve seen breeding behaviour with our Manning River turtles. It is SO exciting! And I just can’t wait to see those eggs!”

Last October the first 10 captive raised turtles were returned to the Manning River by Aussie Ark. This year's successful breeding is another milestone for the program which will hopefully lead to more turtles being returned to the wild.

Visitors to the Australian Reptile Park may be able to view the turtles in the Conservation Ark habitat.

Manning River Turtle Breeding Aussie Ark-Australian Reptile Park

Image: © Aussie Ark

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More on Turtles!

With over 300 species of turtle and tortoise on Earth you're sure to find one you like in our fact file.

Our Favourite Manning River Turtle Fact!

The Manning river turtle is also known as the Manning river snapping or helmeted turtle. This species is thought to have survived mostly unchanged for roughly 55 million years.

Image: © Aussie Ark

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