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Saving Our Snake Necked Turtle

Help save our snake necked turtle with citizen science!

Turtle Tracker Program

The City of Canning have joined forces with Murdoch University and South West Group to participate in the Saving Our Snake Necked Turtle Project. Many of the City’s wetlands, including the Canning River Regional Park, are home to the Snake Necked Turtle, which are under threat from feral animals, road strikes, and a lack of suitable nesting habitat.

The Turtle Tracker citizen science project will provide you with the opportunity to help save our snake necked turtles by monitoring and protecting local populations at Wilson Lagoon, during peak nesting season (September to November).

Below are a list of duties you will be completing as a Turtle Tracker:

  • Patrolling areas around Wilson Lagoon for turtles and signs of turtle nesting as part of a group roster that works in with your availability.
  • Protecting turtles from predators such as birds.
  • Observing and monitoring turtles from a distance during nesting until the turtle safety returns to the wetland.
  • Recording turtle sightings/nests using the TurtleSAT app, including taking photographs of the turtles and surrounding environment.
  • Protecting observed nesting sites using the equipment supplied during the Turtle Tracker training session.

To join the City’s Turtle Trackers and save the Snake Necked Turtle, come along to a training session which will cover what is expected of volunteers, safety guidelines, how to monitor turtles and protect their nests.

For further information, please contact the City’s Parks Conservation Officer on 1300 422 664.


Snake necked turtles are easily identifiable by their long, thin neck and its shell, which is generally dark brown to black while the bottom of the shell is pale in colour. Adult turtles have a shell length of 30 to 40 centimetres, whilst baby turtles (hatchlings) can be as small as 30 millimetres.

Two photos - one showing the top of the turtle; one showing a man holding a turtle

What should I do if I see a snake necked turtle?

Avoid disturbing them or picking them up.

If you see a turtle in danger of being attacked by another animal or they are heading in the direction of road traffic, you can help by protecting them from any predators or escorting them across a road (if it is safe to do so), without disturbing them or picking them up.

If a turtle is heading towards land, do not return it to the water as it is likely looking for a suitable nesting site. If you do return a turtle to the water before it has nested it may try to make the dangerous trip again or abort its egg. It is best to just keep your distance and let it make its journey. If you spot a hatchling, you can return it to the nearest wetland.

Who should I contact if I find an injured turtle?

If you find an injured or dead turtle, it should be taken to WA Wildlife Hospital who can provide emergency care and rehabilitation:

If you need to handle a turtle in order to take it to a wildlife rescue centre, please make sure you do so correctly. You can grasp the turtle around the middle of the carapace (the hard top part of the shell) and hold the turtle away from your body. The hind legs have small claws, so this will prevent you from getting any minor scratches.

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