The Western Swamp Tortoise
The Western Swamp Tortoise is Australia’s most endangered ___________, with a population estimated at 110 in the wild, which puts it in the ___________ endangered category. The tortoise was once thought to be_______, but was re-discovered in 1953. It spends up to 9 months sleeping under the ground during the summer months, this is known as aestivation.
The colour of the tortoise depends on its age and the type of _________ it lives in. The upper part of the shell is known as the carapace. This is up to 15cm long and varies from yellow-brown to black depending on the water _________. It has scale-like scutes covering its short _______ and webbed _________. It has a short spiky neck, which easily distinguishes it from the common long-neck tortoise (oblong tortoise).
The only known wild populations are restricted to 2 locations in the Perth area, which are Ellen Brook and _______ ________ nature reserves. The ________ are situated in the Ellen Brook/Bullsbrook area. The tortoise prefers a _________ of clay-like temporary wetlands. A temporary (or ephemeral) wetland means that it is dry in _______, but fills up with water in ________.
The tortoise only needs to eat for half the year, because for the other half it is underneath ground __________ (sleeping). When the tortoise is active it survives by eating aquatic invertebrates such as small crustaceans and _______ larvae.
The tortoise has a very low and slow reproductive rate, which is a reason why there are so _____ numbers of the Western Swamp Tortoise left. It takes 10 to 15 years for the tortoise to reach sexual maturity and be able to__________. The tortoise lays 1 clutch of ______ per year. In November – December the adult female will lay her eggs in a shallow underground nest. She usually lays 3 to 5 hard-shelled eggs that hatch the following May. The hatchlings enter the water when the swamp fills up in June.
WORDS TO USE
reptile, winter, eggs, colour, Twin Swamps, legs, extinct, insect, Reserves, critically, swamp, summer, reproduce, claws, few, aestivating.