Chelus – Mata matas

Second species in this genus only described in 2020

Chelus is a genus that includes the species known as the Mata Mata turtle and his newly found cousin – the Orinoco Mata Mata. These sizeable freshwater turtles may be found in South America.
They are solitary animals. They mainly eat at night in murky water when vision is poor. These turtles are well suited to hunting under these circumstances, nevertheless.

Like other nocturnal reptiles, mata matas have keen vision and light-reflecting eyes.

Mata matas are carnivorous reptiles that feed exclusively upon aquatic invertebrates and fish.

Mata matas play a vital role in the ecosystem as predators. They only consume tiny fish and aquatic invertebrates, which helps to regulate their population.