Mata Mata

 

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Range: Tropical South America, Brazil, Venezuela

Habitat: Slow Moving Streams and Rivers

Natural Diet: Strictly carnivorous

Diet at Rain Forest: Fish.

Size: 12-18" Carapace, very large aquatic turtle

RainForest Facts: One of the most unusually shaped of all aquatic turtles, the Mata Mata is shaped much like fallen leaves and vegetation.  This allows the turtle the ability to hide amongst the rotting vegetation of a slow moving or stagnant bodies of water.  A sit and wait predator the Mata Mata has fooled many a fish into thinking it is nothing but a clump of rotting leaves!

Status in Wild: Numbers are stable in parts of range while declining rapidly in areas of human encroachment.   Over collected for the pet trade the numbers of the Mata Mata in the wild are not fully understood at this time.

High Resolution Pictures Available

 

 

 

 

RainForest Adventures zoo, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN