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matamata:see side-necked turtleside-necked turtle,
name for the long-necked turtle of the families Chelidae and Pelomedusidae, found only in the Southern Hemisphere. The neck in these two families is of a different structure from that of other turtles and is folded sideways under the shell for concealment
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(Chelys fimbriata), the only species of the genus Chelys of the family Chelidae. It lives in bodies of water in Venezuela, Guiana, and Brazil. The carapace, which may be up to 40 cm long, is oval and has three longitudinal rows of large prismatic mounds. The undershell is long and narrow. The head is triangular, and the snout has the shape of a proboscis, measuring up to 15 cm. The matamata can project its snout to the surface when it burrows in mud on the bottom of rivers and lakes. The mouth is very wide. The skin on the head and the sides of the neck has fringelike growths that disguise the turtle among aquatic plants. It feeds on fish and invertebrates and is active at dusk.