Ngalmangiyi Djang (Long-Necked Turtle Dreaming)

We find ngalmangiyi (Long Necked Turtles, Chelodina rugosa) in open areas like flood plains. Women will go out looking for “mim”, the small holes the turtles breathe through as they lie buried under the mud. In the old days, women would take a digging stick called “kunbarlkbu”, which they sharpened so it would penetrate the mud. Nowadays women fashion turtling sticks from old pieces of metal, which they sharpen and make wooden handles for. These are called “kubba” (from the English “crowbar”). If the stick makes a knocking sound when it goes into the mud, people know there is a turtle there. People take the turtles and cook them on the fire or in ground ovens, opening them up to eat them. The best times for hunting turtle are the six or so months after Kudjewk (the monsoon season) that occurs in the beginning of the year.
There is a Long-Necked Turtle Dreaming site at Makarlall billabong. Some of the Long-Necked Turtles there have 2 heads. The 2 headed Turtles have always been there. If you catch them you should put them back.