The Mata Mata is a freshwater turtle found primarily in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America. The appearance of the Mata Mata’s shell resembles a piece of bark, and its head resembles fallen leaves. Remaining motionless in the water, its skin flaps enable it to blend into surrounding vegetation until prey comes close. The Mata Mata’s brown or black, oblong carapace can measure up to 18 inches at adult age. The head, neck, tail, and limbs are grayish brown on adults. The neck is longer than the vertebra under its carapace and is fringed with small skin flaps along both sides. The Mata Mata inhabits slow moving, blackwater streams, stagnant pools, marshes, and swamps ranging into northern Bolivia, eastern Peru, Ecuador, eastern Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, and northern and central Brazil. It is strictly an aquatic species but prefers standing in shallow water where its snout can reach the surface to breathe.