Mata Mata Turtle (Chalus Fimbriatus)

Conservation status

IUCN: Red List: Least Concern

Key Descriptions

The Mata Mata turtle are large South American freshwater turtles native to the Amazon & Orinoco Basin. Their fascinating appearance is highlighted by its unique physical characteristics such as its triangular flattened head as well as its long & tubular snout.


They are distributed throughout South America where they live in the shallow areas of low current water locales such as rivers, swamps & marshes. They can be found in the Amazon, Orinoco, & Essequibo river systems of northern South America & have occasionally been spotted in Trinidad & Tobago.

Social Life

They are solitary animals, their flattened & dark physical outlook provides them with excellent camouflage which is used to their advantage. Often appearing as large pieces of leaf litter which blend with the murky waters they inhabit, the Mata Mata turtle spend most of their time at the bottom of rivers as opposed to swimming. They are ambush hunters who lie in wait for unsuspecting prey which they suck in akin to a vacuum with the adaptations made to its mouth.

Fun Facts


Fish & other small aquatic animals

Key Information

Origin:South America
Size:Up to 45cm
Weight:Up to 15kg
Lifespan:40 – 75 years

Leave a Reply