It’s not just about the tigers and rhinos on land, it is very important that we do our best to save these underwater unique looking animals. The Mary River turtle is a creature you’ve never seen before, it is one of the most unique looking underwater animals on this planet, but sadly it’s now also the most endangered among reptiles.

With wide nostrils, chin fingers and sometimes a nice green algae hairdo is only found in Queensland, Australia. The 40cm-long water turtle is one of the most endangered species on the planet and ranks 29th on the new list of the most vulnerable reptile species shared by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Mary river turtle-algae

This distinct looking Mary River turtle has a head crowned by vertical strands of green algae that also grows on its body. In addition, it sports face furniture in the form of long fleshy barbells under its chin. However, the most unusual feature is its ability to breathe through its genitals. Now that’s Idiosyncratic!

The highly unconventional lifestyle and hippier look historically made it a popular pet. In the 1960s and 1970s, its nest sites were mercilessly pillaged for the pet trade. Now it is one of the world’s most endangered turtle species. This rockstar-looking turtle is just one of the many weird and wonderful species featured in the Zoological Society of London Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered Reptiles list.

“Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals. However, the Edge reptiles list highlights just how unique, vulnerable and amazing these creatures really are,” said Rikki Gumbs, coordinator of Edge reptiles.

“It is vital we do our utmost to save these unique and too often overlooked animals. Many Edge reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages, whose branches of the tree-of-life stretching back to the age of the dinosaurs. If we lose these species there will be nothing like them left on Earth.” he further added.

Endangered reptiles

Top of the list of most vulnerable animals on the planet is the Madagascar big-headed turtle, which has an Edge score higher than that of any other amphibian, bird or mammal, and is still taken for food and global trade.

Other unusual and endangered species include the Round Island keel-scaled boa from Mauritius, a snake which is the only terrestrial vertebrate known to have a hinged upper jaw, the minute leaf chameleon from Madagascar which is the size of a human thumbnail; and the gharial, a slender-snouted fish-eating freshwater crocodile from our very country. Less than 235 gharials survive in the rivers of northern India and Nepal.

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