Animals & Habitats
Matamata Turtle
Scientific Name
Chelus fimbriatus
Central and South America
Conservation Status
Not Listed

Slow and Easy Living

This aquatic turtle spends the majority of its time underwater, with females usually only leaving the water to lay eggs. They utilize slow and cautious movements, blending into their natural surroundings. When they are active it is at both day and night.

Feeding Strategies

Due to their cryptic appearance they are efficient as a predator. In some cases, they will lay still, waiting for fish and invertebrates to come in close proximity. Mostly carnivorous, they rely heavily on their muscular neck to lunge out at aquatic invertebrates and fish; they swallow their food whole because of their weak jaw.

Reproductive Rituals

When a male courts a female, he will extend his head multiple times while opening and closing his mouth. During courtship rituals the lateral flaps on the head have been observed moving in conjunction with hyperextension of the legs from their shell, as an elaborate display to attract a female.