Fringed Tortoise Or Matamata – Master Of Disguise

Fringed Tortoise Or Matamata - Master Of Disguise

Matamata (lat. Chelus fimbriatus) or fringed tortoise is a water turtle from South America from the family of snake-necked turtles, which became famous because of its unusual appearance. Although it can not be called handmade and homely, its appearance and interesting behavior make the matamata quite popular.

Matamata is a large turtle and can reach 45 cm and weigh 15 kg. She needs warmth and clean water. Although fringed turtles are quite hardy, dirty water quickly makes them sick.

Living in nature

Matamata lives in the freshwater rivers of South America – the Amazon, Orinoco, Essekibo, which flow through Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela. Also lives on the island of Trinidad and Tobago.

Holds the bottom, places with a weak current, silt. Lives in rivers, swamps and flooded mangroves. The proboscis, instead of the nose, allows her to breathe completely immersed in water. The matamat has excellent hearing and touch, special cells on her neck allow her to determine the movement of water in order to identify fish.

Usually the matamata lies on the bottom of the river with a slow course, moving so little that algae grow on its neck and carapace. Together with the fringe, they give her a wonderful disguise. The victim is approaching, and the turtle grabs it with a unique property.

She opens her mouth so fast that a stream of water gushing into it draws the fish in like a funnel. The jaw closes, the water spits out, and the fish swallows. Camouflage and hard shells save the mat from the predators that the Amazon is rich in.

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Description

Mata-mata is a large tortoise up to 45 in carapace. It can weigh 15 kg. Carapax (upper part of the shell) is very unusual, rough, in a variety of pyramidal growths. The head is large, flat and triangular, at the end of which there is a flexible nasal process.

Matamata has a very large mouth, her eyes are small and set close to her nose. The neck is thin, long with rich fringe.

Mature individuals differ in that the male has a concave plastron, and the tail is thin and long. In the female, the plastron is even, and the tail is noticeably shorter.

Plastron adult turtles yellow and brown. They are brighter than newborns than adults.

Fringed Tortoise Or Matamata - Master Of Disguise

Accurate data on life expectancy does not exist, but they agree that the matamata lives long. Called numbers from 40 to 75 years, and even up to 100.

Feeding

Omnivore, but mainly eats live food. You need to give goldfish, pecilia, mollies, guppies, earthworms, mollusks, mice and even birds. You can feed by simply adding about a dozen fish to the aquarium, since it will be difficult for her to catch one, and having a choice, the matamata will evenly catch them.

Live fish feeding:

Slow motion (you can see how her mouth works)

Content

Since large matamata grows, a large aquaterrarium is needed for maintenance. True, she is not as active a hunter as other types of turtles, and small and medium in size can live in 200-250 liter aquariums.

The most important thing in the content of matamates is the quality and parameters of water. Acidity should be low, of the order of pH 5.0-5.5, with the addition of peat or fallen leaves of trees. Mandatory regular water changes and a powerful filter. Water temperature 28 … 30 ° C and stable throughout the year. Some lovers gradually lower the temperature during the fall, so that in winter the turtle does not inhale cold air and does not get pneumonia.

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Since large matamata grows, a large aquaterrarium is needed for maintenance. True, she is not as active a hunter as other types of turtles, and small and medium in size can live in 200-250 liter aquariums.

The most important thing in the content of matamates is the quality and parameters of water. Acidity should be low, of the order of pH 5.0-5.5, with the addition of peat or fallen leaves of trees. Mandatory regular water changes and a powerful filter. Water temperature 28 … 30 ° C and stable throughout the year. Some lovers gradually lower the temperature during the fall, so that in winter the turtle does not inhale cold air and does not get pneumonia.

In an aquarium with a fringed tortoise, the soil should be sandy so that it does not damage the plastron and where to plant the plants. Decor – driftwood, and plants, the benefit in the aquarium is a lot of plants native to the Amazon. Although most of their lives they spend in water, they are inactive, most of the time they lie at the bottom.

Lighting – with the help of a UV lamp, although the matamata does not crawl ashore to warm up, the light gives additional heat and allows you to observe it.

As with all aquatic turtles, matamata need to minimize anxiety. You need to pick them up only in order to clean them or transfer them to another water area, but not in order to play.

Young turtles are generally very secretive and fall into stress if someone bothers them in the water. In general, you need to touch them once a month, check that there are no health problems.

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Breeding

In captivity, it practically does not breed, only a few successful cases are known. In nature, the female lays about 200 eggs and does not care about them. It is characteristic that matamata eggs are hard when most turtles are soft.

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