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Leaves in the Stream

There is actually a turtle that looks like this. It is called the Matamata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus). They are native to shallow streams in lowland, northern South America. . They are carnivorous. These turtles sit on the bottom of slow moving streams. Their lacy fringes of skin flutter in the current and make them look like water plants and dead leaves. When prey gets close, they suck in a mouthful of food and river water. It is a low energy, efficient life style. These turtles can reach a shell length of 18 inches, and have a very long neck. Interestingly, they are poor swimmers, usually walking along the bottom. In captivity, juveniles have been known to drown if the water is too deep. These fantastic turtles rarely breed in captivity. I would ask that any one seriously considering acquiring these turtles to consider if you have the space for them to thrive and the time to devote to a captive breeding effort.

Links of interest

WhoZoo matamata page
California Turtle & Tortoise Club
Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society
California Turtle & Tortoise Society Photos
Please report any broken links. I try to check every one when it is posted, but sites do move.

wren11 @ eskimo.com
Copyright 2005. coded by M. Wren
last modified November 28, 2005