Giant South American River Turtle
About This Animal
SIZE: 42 inches
RANGE: Orinoco and Amazon River systems
HABITAT: River basin
DIET: Fallen fruits and vegetation, aquatic insects
ON EXHIBIT: The Flooded Amazon in River Journey
The Giant South American River Turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world! It has a long neck that it can move from side to side. Most people think turtles are slow but these turtles are very powerful swimmers.
In the wild, they are mainly herbivorous, feeding on aquatic vegetation and plant matter that falls into the water. However, it is also known to be somewhat opportunistic, feeding on small, slow-moving prey and carrion.
Mutual cleaning behaviour between individuals of this species has been observed. One turtle will position itself at right angles to a second turtle and use its jaws to pull algae from its shell. The turtles will then switch position.