Northern South America including Amazon and Orinoco River drainages.
Prefers the still waters of lakes and ponds, but also found in rivers. Can survive extended periods of time in brackish water.
Description: Flattened yet rugged shell, rough skin, fringe-like appendages which gives the head a triangular appearance when viewed from above. Likely covered with algae.
Size: Up to 18 inches in carapace length
Shell - dark brown or black
Skin - orange-brown to grey-brown
Male Matamata turtles have slightly longer tails, and females are larger with wider necks.
Tube-like proboscis, tiny eyes, conical knobs on each scute of the shell
Diet in Zoo: Fish
Diet in Wild: Various small fishes
Matamata Turtles reach sexual maturity at age 5. Nesting occurs between October and December, and incubation is about 208 days.
8 to 28 eggs per clutch. Mothers leave young to fend for themselves.
Method of Temperature Regulation:
Approximately 35 years in captivity. Little is known about longevity in the wild.
Mainly humans, although so unattractive in appearance that it discourages human consumption even where other turtles are eaten.
Matamata is Spanish for “I kill, I kill” and is considered an appropriate name for this efficient hunter.
Not Threatened/Least Concern