An interesting representative of snake-necked turtles is a fringed tortoise or a matamata tortoise (lat. Chelus fimbriatus), also included in the side-necking group. The group is named after the special structure of the skeleton.
The structure of the internal organs of representatives of this species of turtles have their own differences. The neck of these turtles, unlike other species, does not bend vertically when the turtle retracts its head, but wraps itself under a shell. Thus, the head of the turtle is thus pressed to the front leg, more precisely to its base.
In total, there are 31 species of terrestrial turtles. They are found in the countries of the southern hemisphere: Australia, New Guinea, and also South America. These turtles are well tolerated in captivity, so they are frequent visitors to many terrariums. Matamata aquatic turtles live on the South American continent. They are found in countries such as Brazil, Guiana, Venezuela, Suriname and Guyana.
This rather large turtle (up to 40 cm) has a very peculiar appearance. Its carapace, with serrations along the edges, is decorated with three serrated protrusions on top, which are formed by sharp cone-shaped knolls on each shield.
The original shape of the head and the serpentine, long neck also attracts attention. It is covered with a kind of leathery rags, and over the ears of the turtle there are quite large leathery growths. The end of the muzzle is decorated with a long proboscis.
This unusual appearance makes it easier for the turtle to hunt and get food. Lurking, the turtle is waiting for its victim (it can be a tadpole or a fish). The prey, attracted by swaying flaps on the neck and head of the turtle, swims up close. And then the matamata opens its mouth, and then abruptly draws water into itself, along with the prey. As a result, the victim is swallowed whole. And the turtle, shutting its mouth, releases the water back, slightly opening its mouth. Unlike other types of turtles, matamata has weak jaws and cannot bite or hold prey, always swallowing it whole.
Matamata turtles feel good in captivity. They are contained in large water areas with a water temperature of 28-30 ° C, the air temperature in the room should be 28-30 ° C. Matamata is one of the most thermophilic turtles. If the water temperature drops to 24C, the turtle becomes inactive and lethargic, may refuse to feed. These turtles are fed with shallow, lively food. It can be small fish, live frogs or tadpoles. Over time, turtles can be taught to take other food: thawed fish, mice or chicken.
In the aquatrarium for matamata, it is desirable to make shelters where the turtle will hide from too bright light. Turtles can breed all year round. After mating, the female lays about 30 eggs. This usually happens in the fall and winter, from October to December. The duration of the incubation period depends primarily on the ambient temperature. At 24 ° C, it lasts 250-310 days, if the temperature is raised to 30 ° C, incubation takes 60-140 days. This turtle, despite some features of the content, can become a very interesting and unusual inhabitant of your aquatorrarium.