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Matamata Turtle: here’s the scoop


Matamatas were previously captured for meat, but other turtles are now considered more desirable. Today they are threatened by the international pet trade, climate change and habitat degradation.


Matamata Turtle

Scientific name

Chelus fimbriatus


Bottom dwellers, inhabiting the shallow areas of muddy, slow-moving bodies of water such as rivers, swamps and marshes.


Carnivorous. Feeds on small fish and invertebrates

life expectancy

Up to 40 years

Did you know?

The matamata is one of the largest freshwater turtles. Their impressive shell can grow to nearly 1 ½ feet and they can weigh up to 38 pounds.


Throughout the Amazon in northern South America, including Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia. They are also found on the island of Trinidad.

Conservation status

Not Evaluated