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Mata Mata Turtle Health Information

In the wild, the Mata Mata appears to be a nocturnal feeder and is known to eat a large variety of foods such as fish, freshwater invertebrates, and even small mammals and birds that venture in the water. In captivity they require live fish of the appropriate size for the turtles, so they can swallow the fish whole. Bait fish, like minnows are commonly used. The fish should be kept in a separate tank before feeding them to the turtles to ensure that they don't have any diseases and to get rid of all the drugs and chemicals in the fish's system. There appears to be a lot of debate concerning feeding of goldfish. Some caregivers state that they can cause injury to the turtle with their fins. In addition some keepers state that goldfish (like some other fish) have a B1 enzyme that can lead to B1 deficiencies in the Mata Mata. Lastly most goldfish are raised in environments with copper sulfate in the water. Many keepers of Mata Matas believe that increased exposure to the copper sulfate will become toxic.

The Mata Mata has not been bred often in captivity. In the wild the Mata Mata will begin to nest between October and November. The males initiate breeding by making head movements and opening and closing their mouths. The female will lay anywhere from 12 to 28 eggs after mating, which incubate for approximately 200 days. Incubation temperatures should be maintained between 28 and 29 degrees Celsius. Some hobbyists recommend mild acidification of the eggshells to make sure that the hatchlings can escape.

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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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