The matamata is a unique turtle living in the Amazon Rain forest of South America. It is easily recognized by its triangular head. It uses this odd-shaped head to capture food in an interesting way. It will lie fully submerged in the water using the long tube at the end of its snout as a snorkel. Matamatas are often mistaken for rocks or submerged logs. When an unlucky fish or invertebrate chances to swim by, the matamata will quickly open its mouth forcing water to rush in along with its newest meal. They have also been seen herding fish into shallower water to make them easier to be caught. In the National Zoo in Washington D. C., they are fed goldfish three times per week. Their odd name also has an odd meaning, “I kill”. Matamatas are large for turtles and the females can weigh up to 27 pounds (12 ¼ kg) and grow up to 18 inches long. During October to December, their nesting season, they lay from 12 to 28 eggs on land near the water. The eggs are up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter. After being laid, the eggs incubate for 200 days after which the 3 inch (7.6 cm) babies hatch and begin their life of up to 40 years.
Here’s the picture of next week’s animal.
- Smithsonian Handbooks Reptiles and Amphibians. Mark O’Shea and Tim Halliday, Smithsonian Institution, ISBN: 978-0-7566-6009-3
- Animals of the world. Tom Jackson, ISBN: 978-1780191089
- Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide. David Burnie and Don E. Wilson, Smithsonian Institution, ISBN: 978-0-7566-6002-4
- Matamata – Wikipedia user:J. Patrick Fischer
- Matamata range – public domain
- Mystery animal – Wikipedia user:Alexander Vasenin