Why do the odd turtles always ‘smile’ on their lips?

Why do the odd turtles always ‘smile’ on their lips?

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2023-02-03 03:06:42

One of the largest freshwater turtles (their shell can grow to be nearly 45 cm long and weigh about 17 kg), the mata mata tortoise is a rather odd looking animal, at least by human standards. .

It has a disproportionately large head and neck that is both long and thick, with numerous warts and ridges on its face, known as “nodules”. On the sides of its long snout there is a horn like a coin with holes, and its wide mouth makes the animal look as if it always has a smile on its face.

The mata tortoise lives in northern South America. Includes the Orinoco and Amazon river basins. Most distributed in Brazil, Guyana and Peru. In the turbid lakes of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, northern Bolivia, eastern Peru, Ecuador, eastern Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, central and northern Brazil. In addition, their footprints have been found in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil and are also found on the island of Trinidad.

But while mata mata turtles may be ugly to some people, their appearance is actually an adaptation to their surroundings, offering some specific benefits.

Found in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, this tortoise is carnivorous and nocturnal, preferring to hunt small fish as well as some aquatic invertebrates at night.

Despite having a large shell, they can also fall prey to predators, such as crocodiles.

Why the odd turtle always

The mata mata turtle is a sedentary turtle with a flat triangular head. The nose is tubular and partly horned. They are shaped like a dead leaf and are pale yellow. Because its shell looks like a dead leaf, it is also known as dead leaf turtle. When attacked, they can retract their heads, tails and limbs into their shells.

Although the ridges, lumps, and flaps of skin that cover the body may make them look ugly to humans, those layers of skin actually have several important functions. One of these is camouflage – making themselves resemble the rotting and rotting wood of a swamp – which are relatively common and inedible in the river basin where the mata mata turtle lives.

The turtle’s skin and shell also provide a surface for algae and weeds to grow, enabling them to disguise themselves as a piece of rock or wood that is unattractive to predators.

Why the odd turtle always

Similar to other ornamental turtles, mata mata turtles are also very large turtles that often grow to 43-45cm. The largest one recorded reached 61cm. Female turtles are usually larger than male turtles. Like other adult tortoises, males have longer and wider tails than females. Their body does not look too sturdy, a bit like the alligator turtles from North America. The strangest thing is that they have a beard around their neck.

In addition, the wart-like parts of the turtle’s face act like a cat’s whiskers: they inform the turtle about currents and water movement, something useful for both hunting and avoiding great dangers like crocodiles into the water.

The mata mata turtle also has a very strange way of hunting. They have been observed chasing and cornering fish, causing the fish to get stuck and wait to die.

When cornering prey, the mata mata turtle will stick its head out and open its mouth as wide as possible. It then creates a low-pressure vacuum to suck its prey into its mouth, which is known as sucking food. When the turtle closes its mouth, the water is slowly expelled out and the fish is swallowed into the stomach (due to the very special mouth structure, this turtle cannot chew its prey).

Why the odd turtle always

This turtle is usually active in shallow water and its nose can breathe in the water. Mata mata turtles are not at the top of the food chain in their area, so they can also fall prey to many other species.

According to those who have kept mata mata turtles, they are probably quite a smart species. It has even been observed that captive mata mata turtles use the flow of a water pump to pin their prey in the aquarium.

The mata mata turtles are not currently listed as endangered, but their unique qualities make them a popular target among pet hunters and they are often included in aquariums as pets. scene.

But because they are relatively difficult to keep as pets and are often stressed, they often experience health problems when kept in captivity.

Why the odd turtle always

The mata mata turtle usually lives in the lake and crawls very slowly. This species is also highly aquatic and rarely leaves the water. Females will start nesting between October and December, their eggs are spherical, about 35mm in diameter, will hatch after about 200 days of incubation.

Source: Animalia; Unbelievable; ZME

#odd #turtles #smile #lips

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