Commonly known as the Mata Mata tortoise, the Chelus Fimbriata is a South American species of snapping turtle. They are commonly found in the Orinoco basin and the Amazon basin. One of the strangest turtles, the Mata Mata turtle looks roughly like a heap of wood and dried, rotten leaves.
It is characterized by a large triangular head, an elongated neck covered with scales, spikes and horns. Three barbels protrude under his chin and two sets of filamentous barbels protrude from the upper jaw. Its upper jaw is slightly angular and extends into a long snorkel-shaped snout. The snorkel snout is probably used in the same way as a snorkel. The brown or black shell (upper shell) is quadrilateral and can reach 18 inches in an adult.
The shell is flat with large hulls and serrations. Three skittles run parallel along the length of its shell, growing from each scale and ending in a lump formation. A broad, smiling face, complemented by such an enigmatic structure, makes him pretty mean, almost like the Batman Joker. The breastplate is loose and smaller than its shell. Chelus fimbriata the newborns are brightly colored, identifiable by a brown shell and bright red-black stripes on their bodies.
How to Prepare a Home for Your Mata Mata Turtle
Mata Mata turtles inhabit slow-moving streams and shallow ponds, marshes, stagnant basins and wetlands around the Amazon River and its tributaries in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. Although Mata Mata is an aquatic species, it tends to avoid deep water bodies. Shallow water with lots of natural debris and a little vegetation is ideal for them. Their physical structure has evolved to offer an impressive camouflage in such an environment.
These turtles are expert in slow motion. This is probably the reason why they avoid deeper bodies of water, lest they doze off and sink to the bottom. They sit in the middle of the debris, floating in the water and you will only notice them if they move, and THIS, my friend, rarely happens. These turtles remain motionless like rocks and rarely move.
They are extremely careful about movement in the water. Even if they feel their favorite treat around them, they will continue to bask. They will simply widen their necks and open their mouths by sucking up the treat with a little water. They swallow the treat, expelling excess water. In such moments, the lazy bastard will surprise you with incredulous speed.
The Chelus fimbriata prefer to spend most of the day in shallow water. A 300 gallon water tank, measuring 4`x4`, would be perfect for an adult male Mata Mata Turtle. The depth of the water should not exceed 8 to 10 inches. Although they are not the most active species, you must allow enough space to allow free movement.
They belong to the tropics; it is therefore advisable to simulate a similar atmosphere in the aquarium. The ideal temperature for their simulated habitat should be around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature in the tanning area should be around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If possible, you should leave your turtles in the natural sun for a while. In case this is not possible, it is advisable to install a UVB lamp above the tanning area.
How to feed your turtle Mata Mata
Mata Mata turtles are large carnivores and prefer to eat live meat. Live fish are their delicacy of choice. Mollies, goldfish, minnows, guppies and sunfish also appeal to his taste buds. Unlike many other turtles, the Mata Mata is not a swallower, it only eats when hungry.