Reimann’s snake-necked turtle (Chelodina reimanni)

GenusChelodina (1)
SizeAverage male carapace length: 14 cm (2)
Average female carapace length: 20 cm (2)
Maximum carapace length: 35 cm (3)
Male weight: 313 g (2)
Female weight: 955 g (2)

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

Due to its preference for remote rivers, Reimann’s snake-necked turtle was only first described in 1990 (4). Its skin is a rough, greyish-brown on the upperside and slightly more yellow on the underside. Tiny, round tubercles can be seen on the upper surface of the neck creating a bumpy texture to the skin (3). The smooth carapace, or shell, is dark chestnut to hazel brown in colour with un-serrated edges, and it is rather flat in comparison to many other turtle species. The head is also smooth, wider than most turtle species and dark brown to grey in colour, and the snout is slightly upturned. Reimann’s snake-necked turtles found in western Indonesia have slightly wider heads than those found in the more eastern areas such as Papua New Guinea (2).

This species occurs in West Irian Jaya (Indonesia) and Papua New Guinea (1) (3).

Reimann’s snake-necked turtle inhabits marshes and shallow water. During the dry season (August to October) this species may move on to land or simply remain in the mud. The water that it inhabits will typically be at least 30 degrees Celsius throughout most the year (2).

Little is known about the biology of this species in the wild. However, it is known that breeding usually occurs two to three times a year. The female will produce a clutch of 6 to 16, greyish-white, oval eggs with hard shells, measuring up to 34 millimetres long (2) (3). The eggs, which weigh four to five grams (2), are laid within a nest which is a deep hole in the substrate. In captivity the young hatch after 65 to 80 days (2). Reimann’s snake-necked turtle has a diet of insects, molluscs and crayfish (3).

The international live animal trade threatens the future of this species. Reimann's snake-necked turtle has a small range and therefore the population can be affected greatly by the capture of individuals (1).

Whilst there are not known to be any specific conservation measures in place for Reimann’s snake-necked turtle, a number of organisations, such as the Turtle Survival Alliance, are working to conserve freshwater turtles around the world (5) (6).

For further information on the conservation of freshwater turtles see:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
  2. Artner, H. (1995) Keeping and breeding of Chelodina reimanni, Philippen and Grossman, 1990 – including field observations to its habitat in Irian Jaya, New Guinea (Testudines:  Chelidae). Herpetozoa, 8: 17-24. 
  3. Ernst, C.H., Altenburg, R.G.M., Barbour, R.W. (1996) Turtles of the World. ETI Information Systems Ltd, Netherlands. Available at:
  4. Love, B. and Lamar, W.W. (1997) The World’s Most Spectacular Reptiles and Amphibians. Carmichael Publications, Tampa, Florida.
  5. Turtle Survival Alliance (November, 2009)
  6. Turtle Conservation Fund (November, 2009)