The matamata turtle has a triangular shaped skull surrounded by many ridges, warts, tufts, and other protuberances. Full grown, they can weigh up to 27 pounds, making them one of the largest freshwater turtle species. Males will get up to 18 inches in length, but females will get slightly larger.
These turtles can be found in muddy, shallow ponds or slow-moving rivers and streams throughout northern South America.
Matamata turtles feed on fish and other small aquatic animals. The jaws of this turtle are fleshy and soft rather than hard like other turtles.
In the wild, the turtle will nest between October and November. The males initiate breeding by making head movements and opening and closing their mouths. The female will lay up to 28 eggs after mating, which incubate for approximately 200 days.
Did you know?
You can determine the age of a matamata turtle by examining the growth lines present on each scute along the shell, which are raised.
The matamata turtle is considered non-threatened.