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Mata Mata Turtle basic information

The Mata Mata Turtle can weigh up to 27 pounds, making him one of the largest freshwater turtles. Their shells can measure 18 inches in length at maturity. Females are generally larger than males. Very young Mata Matashave a salmon coloring to their plastron and the carapace and neck are dark brown. However, when they get older, the plastron turns to yellows and browns. The carapace of the mature Mata Mata is contorted and coarse to the touch. One can gauge the age of these tortoises by examining the growth lines present on each scute. The scutes themselves are conical, and the growth rings are easy to see. The Mata Mata has a long, flat neck and head. The head is shaped like a broad triangle. The head and neck are covered with ridges, warts, tufts, and other protuberances. Tufts are flaps of skin. The exact purpose of the tufts is a subject of debate. The tufts stay in the water and drift as the turtle moves; the movement of the tufts gives the appearance of weeds or algae. These tufts possess many nerve cells, which convey sensory information to the turtle, the debate seems to be how the turtles use and process this information. Their mouths are extremely wide, allowing them to swallow food whole. Its snout is long and slender. Atop the snout are two very small eyes.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mata_Mata_Turtle".
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