Mata Mata Turtle (4-5 inches)


The Mata Mata turtle, a fascinating and unique species, is one of the largest freshwater turtles. An adult Mata Mata turtle for sale can reach a shell size of 18 inches.

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Mata Mata Turtle for Sale

 Introduction to the Mata Mata Turtle

Mata Mata Turtle fir sale: The Mata Mata turtle, a fascinating and unique species, is one of the largest freshwater turtles. An adult Mata Mata turtle for sale can reach a shell size of 18 inches. Its flat head is connected to a long neck adorned with numerous protuberances, warts, and ridges. The scutes have a conical shape, distinguished by well-formed symmetrical rings. The mouth is wide, the snout is long, and its eyes, located by the snout, are very small.

Description of the Mata Mata Turtle

The coloration of the Mata Mata turtle varies. The carapace and neck range from dark brown to mahogany, while the plastron exhibits a salmon color that changes to yellows and browns over time. Young turtles have a reddish-brown throat, which eventually turns tan brown.

 Habitat of the Mata Mata Turtle

The Mata Mata turtle inhabits the northern part of South America, particularly around the Orinoco and Amazon rivers in Venezuela and Brazil. They spend most of their time in the water, walking along the bottom. Thanks to their long necks, they can extend their snouts above the water’s surface to breathe. Preferring calm and slow-moving waters, Mata Mata turtles thrive in turbid environments.

 Diet and Hunting Technique of the Mata Mata Turtle

Mata Mata turtles are nocturnal hunters on the island of Trinidad. Their diet includes fish, amphibians, freshwater crustaceans, and possibly birds and small mammals that venture into the water. Their unique hunting technique involves opening their mouth, expanding their throat, and extending their head upward to create a suction action that draws prey into their throats, where it is swallowed while the water is expelled.

Unique Features of the Mata Mata Turtle

The Mata Mata turtle is arguably the most diverse in form among all turtles. Its triangular, flat head has skin extensions on both sides, ending in a flexible snorkel. Three rows of large humps cross its flat back. The posterior parts of its eyes are lined with a crystalline wall (tapetum lucidum), which reflects light—a feature also seen in crocodiles and other nocturnal reptiles. A full-grown Mata Mata turtle, with an 18-inch-long shell, resembles a vision from a dream rather than a living reptile.

 Habitats for Aquatic Turtles

To maintain a suitable habitat for aquatic turtles, ensure the temperature ranges between 70 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. A tank heater or under-tank heater can help maintain a constant temperature, with daytime temperatures being slightly warmer than nighttime.

Filtering and Water Maintenance

While a filter is not strictly necessary, it simplifies maintenance by reducing the frequency of water changes. Without a filter, change the water every other day with stale or chlorine-free water. With a filter, monthly changes suffice.

Basking Area and Lighting

Provide a basking area with rocks and gravel, placing a light above to supply UVA and UVB rays. Clamp-on lights are effective for this purpose, and timers can simulate night-day cycles. If using an aquarium with a hood, full-spectrum fluorescent lights are ideal.

Feeding and Nutrition

Turtles start as carnivores, eating insects and aquatic creatures. Ensure any plants added to the tank are turtle-friendly. As turtles age, they consume more plants and commercial foods but will still eat small animals. Dark greens are preferred for their nutritional value. Turtles also need calcium, which can be provided through cuttlebones. Overfeeding can pollute the water, so feed turtles an amount roughly equal to the size of their heads. Feeding turtles in a separate container helps maintain habitat cleanliness.

Baby Turtles

For baby turtles, set up a tub with a shallow water dish (twice the height of the turtle’s shell) in one corner. Fill the rest with a sand/soil mix and plant live, turtle-safe plants like dandelions. Feed them insects and earthworms, ensuring they are in water to swallow their food successfully.


Creating a suitable habitat for a turtle can range from a minimal investment to a significant one. By following these guidelines, you can build an enjoyable and healthy environment for your Mata Mata turtle.

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