There are about 23 native species of freshwater turtles across Australian and seven species of native freshwater turtle can be found in NSW. Centennial Park is lucky to have two native species of freshwater turtles in our ponds and waterways. The Sydney basin turtle (Emydura macquarii) and the snake-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) can sometimes be seen basking on tree branches, drain covers and the banks of the ponds.
Sightings increase around the Park during periods of heavy rainfall or nesting season but they normally hide out around Duck Pond, Willow Pond, Randwick, Lily, Busby’s and Kensington ponds where the vegetation offers shelter and sloping banks provide good access to the water. We encourage visitors to watch out for wildlife around the Park and help report sightings.
Unless you know where to look, the best way to find a turtle nest is to stumble across one being built by a female. These nests are normally built in an area of sand or low vegetation in shallow holes covered with dirt. There can be up to 25 eggs in nest depending on the size and species of the turtle. If you suspect that you have spotted a nest in the Park you can report the location to a Ranger so that we can keep an eye out for the little ones.
All turtles are vulnerable to threats throughout their lives, not just the eggs and hatchlings. Plastic bags, waste, cigarette butts, fishing lines, nets, ropes and disease also threaten these little creatures. You can help turtles by disposing of rubbish, collecting litter and reporting illegal netting.
Citizen scientists report sightings
Over 6,000 turtle sightings have been reported across NSW using TurtleSAT. Report your turtle sightings through their website or app to help land managers and scientists track the movement and behaviour of turtles. By reporting your sightings, the turtles and their offspring are offered an increase of protection too.
If you come across a turtle or a distressed animal in the Parklands, please do not approach or touch them. Our Parklands Rangers are equipped to help the animals and can be reached on 0412 718 611.
World Turtle Day is held on 23 May every year to increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.
Read more about how turtles hibernate on our blog here.