chelus fimbriata


Mata mata (Chelus fimbriata)

The Mata mata is a freshwater turtle found in South America, primarily in the Amazon and Orinoco basins. It is strictly an aquatic species but it prefers standing in shallow water where its snout can reach the surface to breathe. The appearance of the mata mata’s shell resembles a piece of bark, and its head resembles fallen leaves. The mata mata is carnivorous, feeding exclusively upon aquatic invertebrates and fish, which it has to swallow whole, since it cannot chew due to the way its mouth is constructed.

The Chelonians

From bottom to top:
1. Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
2. Geometric Tortoise (Psammobates geometricus)
3. Galapagos Tortoise (Dipsochelys dussumieri)
4. Argentine Snake-Necked Turtle (Hydromedusa tectifera)
5. Mata Mata (Chelus fimbriata)
6. Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
7. Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

The Testidunes (or Chelonii, often called Chelonians) are the reptiles belonging to the order Testudines, and include all of the turtles and tortoises. This order is characterized by their protective bony carapaces, which developed from their ribs millions of years ago. Ribs still line the inside of the shell.

As they’re reptiles, they’re ectothermic, and their body temperature adjusts to the surroundings. They’re all amniotes, as well - that is, they lay eggs outside of the water.

The carapace of most chelonians is covered by bony, overlapping plates, called scutes. However, some species, such as the leatherback sea turtle, have a thick, oily skin covering their carapace instead. Chelonians also have a protective chest plate, called a plastron.


The difference between “turtle”, “tortoise”, and “terrapin” is defined differently depending upon your field and what part of the world you live in. In general, turtles live in either freshwater or the ocean. Tortoises live on dry land and cannot swim. Terrapin is a more specific term for some turtles, referring to the small, edible, hard-shelled turtles.

While all chelonians can be long-lived (as their organs do not suffer age-related decay), large torotoises are the best-known for living over a hundred years. Jonathan, a Seychelles Giant Tortoise, is 183 years old next week, and is the oldest living vertebrate!

Kuntsformen der Natur. Ernst Haeckel, 1904.


Mata mata turtle feeding!

A lot of you guys seemed to like the Mata mata turtle (Chelus fimbriata) (I wrote about it on my blog earlier), so I figured I should show you how a Mata mata is feeding, because I was actually kinda surprised how that looks like. You can imagine it like the Mata mata as a giant vacuum cleaner because thats how it has to feed. It strikes to the fish and sucks the fish in really fast. It has to swallow them whole because of the structure of their mouth (and they dont have any teeth). 

Hi! This isn’t a real submission I just have a question about this animal (?) and wanted to include the picture. My friends found this picture in the internet and now we wonder what this is. To me it looks just like a funny piece of wood but … who knows ;)

Do you maybe know anything about this charming creature? Thankyou!

External image

That is the beautiful mug of the Mata-Mata (Chelus fimbriata)  which is a species of South American turtle, that hunts by “vacuuming” prey into its mouth. I made a post of one awhile ago so you can go there for some more information.