Matamata Turtle Skull Replica


The Mata mata, Mata-mata, or Matamata (Chelus fimbriata) is a South America species of freshwater turtle found in the Amazon basin and river system of the Eastern Guianas. Some authorities have modified the common name of Chelus fimbriata to Amazon mata mata.


Matamata Turtle Skull Replica measures 4.3 inches. Matamata Turtle Skull Replica is museum quality polyurethane cast. Made in the USA.  2-part skull (separate cranium and jaw) and Hyoid. Our precise skull can be used as a teaching tool, museum skull exhibit, home décor skull, or office décor skull. Hyoid measures 7.5 inches.

The Matamata turtle or Chelus fimbriatus is a freshwater turtle found in South America, primarily in the Amazon and Orinoco basins. It is the only extant species in the genus.

The Matamata turtle or Chelus fimbriatus is almost surreal in appearance, and at first glance may resemble a pile of debris. Younger turtles are salmon pink to reddish-brown in coloration with black to green mottling. As Matamata turtle matures, the pinkish hues are replaced by faded yellow, washed out browns, oranges, and greys.

The shell has three lengthwise knobby keels. Algae may cover much of the carapace causing the animal to virtually disappear into its surroundings. A fairly large turtle, Matamata turtle or Chelus fimbriatus may reach a shell length of nearly 45 cm.

The head is broadly triangular with large lateral flaps of skin. The snout has evolved into a long protuberance used as a snorkel, minimizing the turtle’s movement as only the tip of the snout emerges form the water during respiration.

The back of the eyes are lined with a tapetum lucidum, a visual adaptation which reflects light. Despite this, they have extremely poor eyesight.

The Matamata turtle or Chelus fimbriatus can sense auditory stimuli obtained through a well developed tympanum on both sides of the head. Matamata turtles are poor swimmers with legs adapted for walking on the bottom of their muddy habitats. Hatchlings and juveniles can swim awkwardly. Adults rarely leave the bottom of shallow pools and streams.

The Matamata turtle or Chelus fimbriatus use a specific method of seizing their prey. They will move the prey into shallower areas of water, surround the prey, and wave their front legs to prevent them from escaping. Once surrounded, the mata mata turtles will open their mouths and contract their pharynx, causing a rush of water that pushes the prey into their mouth.

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Additional information

Weight 3 lbs
Dimensions 4.3 in
Matamata Turtle Facts:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira
Family: Chelidae
Subfamily: Chelinae
Genus: Chelus
Species: C. fimbriata
Binomial name: Chelus fimbriata
Conservation status: Least concern – A least concern species is a species that has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as evaluated as not being a focus of species conservation.