Swell Superstore Mata Mata Turtle

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The Mata Mata Turtle is a large species of turtle originating from Northern South America, throughout the Amazon including Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia. They are an aquatic species favouring slower moving water sources such as streams, swaps or marshes, additionally residing in brackish waters of the Amazon basin. They are a fascinating species, with a characterful look - most prominent of their features being the triangular head shape and 'snorkel' nose extension.

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The Mata Mata Turtle can be a huge commitment as a pet, being such a large size, so its essential that space is prepared for sooner rather than later. Eventually, this species is likely to require more than just a tank, and a indoor pond therefore is more appropriate to prepare for. Always judge off the size of the individual and ensure they are able to move around freely when designing the pond area. This species are fully aquatic, so a land area isn't necessary in their circumstance. Despite being strictly aquatic, Mata Matas aren't great swimmers and require a substrate to 'walk on' on the floor of their aquatic enclosure - a gravel mix would be a good example. You can also use a variety of rocks, wood pieces and foliage, to provide good leverage for movement as well as creating a more natural setting. The Mata Mata will hide amongst debris on the floor but covered areas such as foliage over the surface may make your turtle feel more secure.

Water conditions for the Mata Mata can be difficult to get right. For example, they will require a lower PH of 5 - 5.5 (7 being neutral), and tannins from leaf litter, peat, moss and wood - this can make the colour of the water slightly brown, but is best for a Mata Mata environment. The temperature of the water should remain between 25 - 27C which can be achieved with the relevant sized aquatic heater. For monitoring purposes and to ensure the heater is working effectively, you will also need an accurate aquatic thermometer. Mata Mata's prefer slow moving water, especially as they are not brilliant swimmers, so this should be considered when adding your filtration. Filtration is a necessity to keep the water quality adequate (i.e no ammonia or nitrates or too much debris) but when choosing a filter it is important to incorporate a break in any falling water for example with wood or rock, ensuring when the water falls it isn't disrupting the tank too much and keeping a steady undisturbed environment. As this species can get quite large and destructive, it may also be a better idea to invest in an external system rather than a smaller internal filter - these tend to be better at filtering larger bodies and cant be interfered with by the turtle.

A basking temperature isn't required of this species as they don't leave the water to bask as other species might. As long as the water temperature is stable, your heating is covered. It is however recommended to provide UVB. As this has to penetrate water, this will have to be a high output such as Arcadia's 12-14% T5 bulbs - this being dependent on the height of the enclosure. This UVB will create a more natural environment and boost the health and well being of your turtle so is a necessity. This UV will be used in a 12 hour cycle, going off at night to promote good day and night periods. It is also important to remember that any UV will have a lifespan between 6 - 12 months - this again depending on the bulb and brand. After this the UV will no longer be effective, even if the bulb is glowing.

Your Mata Mata Turtle is a carnivorous species and will be feed on a variety of fish, worms, muscle and insects. The fish especially will provide a good calcium source as bones are ingested, however it is still essential to supplement with calcium and vitamins. Being aquatic this can be a little tricky as many supplements come in the form of dust, but there are alternatives such as Beaphar Turtle Vit or Zoo Meds Dr. Turtle Slow Release Calcium Block which should be utilised, ensuring your turtle has all the required nutrition for health and development. Food can be offered on tweezers on the surface of the water, your turtle will be attracted to movement, so may not feed on items that sink to the floor.

Swell SuperStore Matamata Turtle:

  • Current Age/Size - 6 inches (4 inch shell) approx
  • Adult Expected Size - 2ft +
  • Habitat - Slower moving water sources such as streams, swaps or marshes, additionally brackish waters of the Amazon basin. Northern South America. Aquatic living.
  • Required Enclosure Size - Appropriate sized indoor pond - the individual needs to be able to move a significant length freely and be able to use a large area.
  • UV Lighting - Strong UV output such as Arcadia's 12-14% (Depending on the height of the enclosure)
  • Expected Lifespan - 15 - 30Years +
  • Temperature Gradient - 25 - 27C
  • Humidity Levels - Aquatic
  • Feeding - Carnivorous - variety of fish, worms, muscle and insects
  • Handling - Not for handling - these turtles are fully aquatic and will not appreciate being pulled from water. They are also often snappy.

If you like the look of these animals, and would like any further information, please call the shop directly on 0161 351 4705, or contact them for more images or information at shop@swelluk.com. The Livestock List is updated regularly, but please call ahead to ensure we still have what you want, or to reserve something you may have seen.

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