Basically I figured that what's the harm in trying. I am soo used to being bitten by turtles that size, I'm bitten by turtles that size every single day. And if they turned out to be too nervous to bite (ie if they didn't dare approach me), then no harm done in any case. :-) I'm sure that what I did was totally against the regulations, I wouldn't be surprised if I'd been kicked out if anyone on staff had seen me. But fortunately the only ones who saw were other visitors. :-) 'We won't tell!' 'Does it hurt?'
Nope, it didn't hurt. They seemed to be having a hard time getting a proper grip anyway. I was a little surprised by that, but I guess their mouths may be smaller than they seem. They bit at me but generally did not hold their grip. But they were certainly not nervous of humans. :-) My hand drew their attention almost immediately and they crowded around it. Too cool!! :-)
Then of course when I saw how confident they were in such close contact with a human (and a stranger at that), I got another idea. Again, I'm sure this was totally against the regulations. I knew I shouldn't be doing it. But I really truly couldn't stop myself. Seriously. I could not have stopped myself from doing this. I would have had to be physically restrained if I was going to have been prevented from doing this - someone would have had to have held my arms behind my back to have stopped me. Seriously. I could not miss this opportunity. :-) I HAD to pick one of them up.
Me being bitten by Chelodina longicollis:
Me holding Chelodina longicollis. Check out that neck ... !!
And look at their heads ...
(Photo credit: top two, bottom: me; third and fourth from top: KAS)