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Mata Mata Turtle behavior

The Mata Mata turtle is a striking aquatic turtle. Its distinctive head and neck region make it easily recognizable. The head and neck of the Mata Mata have tufts, which might be where this turtle gets its scientific name, "Chelus fimbriatus", which is Latin for fringed turtle.

The Mata Mata typically does well in captivity.Many have been known to live up to 15 years in zoos and in private collections. This turtle is very appealing to both hobbyists and zoos because of its unique appearance and modest enclosure requirements. The Mata Mata is highly aquatic and rarely leaves the water. In captivity it is most comfortable in an aquarium with a large surface area, but not very deep, because although the turtle loves the water, it is not a good swimmer. Instead, the Mata Mata sticks his head above water to breathe and moves by walking rather than swimming. Water levels should be high enough to allow the turtle to submerse his body, but not so high that he cannot stick his head above the water while standing on the floor. This turtle's natural habitat consists of still or slow moving waters. They seem to prefer this to fast moving water. Some hobbyists report that this turtle also does not do badly with extended exposure to salt or brackish water. The Mata Mata does not need a lot of decorations and land area in his enclosure. Adults of this species do not bask often, but juvenile Mata Matas do. A land area is required during breeding, as the female will use this area for egg laying. It should be noted that breeding in captivity is encouraged, since they are becoming endangered due to habitat loss in the wild.

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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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