Having a rough day? Forget Zen meditation. Come see the pig-nosed turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) instead. She’ll hypnotize you into a calmer state. Watch her below.

Alexis T., guest services representative, says, “I love watching her glide around the habitat. She’s so graceful – it almost looks like she’s flying.”

But when she’s not swimming around, she’s hiding within the twisted roots of the New Guinea exhibit, and that’s precisely why Alexis nominated her for November’s Staff Pick of the Month.

Alexis likes to spend her breaks watching the pig-nosed turtle .

Alexis likes to spend her breaks watching the pig-nosed turtle .

“I feel that because she can be a hider that she does not get enough attention from visitors. A species as old and adaptive as hers needs to be acknowledged.”

The pig-nosed turtle is the last surviving species of a family of turtles (Carettochelyidae) that was widespread in the Tertiary period, 2-66 million years ago. An adaptation you’ll quickly recognize is her pig-like nose, which she uses like a snorkel.

This soft-shelled turtle lives in the rivers, lakes and swamps of New Guinea and Australia. This species is listed as “vulnerable” because it is exported from Indonesia for the live animal trade, eaten in Papua New Guinea and facing habitat loss in Australia.

At the Aquarium, you’ll find her at the entrance to the Tropic Zone.

“She’s so beautiful, yet quirky, that you can’t help but love her!”


Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.


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