The Matamata turtle can be found in streams of rain forests, primarily in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America. The shallow streams are covered with leaves and twigs, helping to camouflage the turtle. Size of the Matamata is up to 18 inches long and 35 lbs. Care should be taken when handling the Matamata because while some are docile, others can become violent.
The Matamata needs a shallow aquarium, approximately 4 feet by 3 feet and 2 feet tall for one turtle. Plants and vines, real or artificial, can be used in the tank. Water should be shallow enough for the turtle to raise its head up without losing touch with the bottom of the tank. Water temperature must be kept at about 80 degrees. A water heater will keep the proper temperature. A submersible filter is needed to ensure the quality of the water. A UVB bulb the length of the tank will provide 12 hours daylight and 12 hours night.
A variety of live fish such as angelfish, mollies and minnows should be provided at all times.
Matamata means “I kill” in the Spanish of the Amazon Indians.