Matamata Turtle

These turtles grow to an impressive size in their aquatic habitats; males can be up to 27lbs and 18 inches long. Matamatas will sit on the bottom of a river and wait for fish or aquatic invertebrates to swim close and then they will quickly open their mouths wide, sucking in both water and prey. The turtles eject the water and swallow their food. This is called suction feeding.


  • Scientific Name: Chelus fimbriatus
  • Range: Northern regions in South America
  • Status in the Wild: Least Concern
  • Location in the Zoo: Reptile and Amphibian House
  • Cool Animal Fact: While these turtles prefer to spend a majority of their time underwater, they are not good swimmers.