'Punk' turtle that breathes through its genitals added to endangered list

The Round Island keel-scaled boa

The Round Island keel-scaled boa

The Mary river turtle is what scientists call a cloacal ventilator, meaning it breathes through its anus.

Otherwise known as the Mary River turtle because it is endemic to the Mary River in eastern Queensland, Australia, the Elusor macrurus was ranked No. 30 on the EDGE of Extinction list compiled by the conservation group ZSL for the London Zoological Society of London. But the Mary River Turtle might just be the strangest of them all.

According to CNN, it grows on the animals head because the turtle can live underwater for up to three days.

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An adorable little turtle, which has a bright green mohawk and breathes through its genitals, is now on the endangered list.

This is not hair, but algae.

The Mary River turtle, native to Queensland, Australia, has the unusual ability to breathe underwater through specialized glands in its cloaca - a posterior opening for excretion and reproduction. In the 1960s and 1970s, juvenile turtles were collected and sold as "penny turtles", which effectively wiped out a generation of the turtles that are slow to mature sexually and typically don't reproduce until they are 25 years old.

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Destruction of the creatures' natural habitat through the building of dams, as well as the collection of its eggs for the pet trade, piled on the survival pressure.

"Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals", Edge reptiles co-ordinator Rikki Gumbs said.

He added: "Just as with tigers, rhinos and elephants, it is vital we do our utmost to save these unique and too often overlooked animals".

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The EDGE reptile list also includes the Madagascan blindsnake - a pink, wormlike creature that spends its life burrowing through forest soil - the freshwater turtle which uses its distinctive appendage as a snorkel, and the leatherback turtle which can weigh over 900kg. Many Edge reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages, whose branches of the tree of life stretch back to the age of the dinosaurs.

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