You Make The Diagnosis: Find The Animal In This Picture

Hiding amongst the fish is a rare animal that has several adaptations for life in the water.  After you have located this shy creature, name the animal and two unique characteristics.

Diagnosis:  Mata Mata Turtle

In the center of the image is a mata mata turtle clinging to the side of a large rock.  Its shell is covered with dark green algae.  These turtles are native to South America where they live in swamps, marshes and other bodies of slow moving water.  They have a long, tubular nose that resembles a horn.  Mata mata turtles live in shallow water which makes breathing a snap.  They simply stretch their heads to the surface.  

Besides their unique nose, mata mata turtles are known for flaps of skin on their necks that look like fringe to me.  The flaps provide camouflage among the aquatic plants while they wait for dinner to swim by.   

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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