Monday, July 25, 2011

My Cousin: The Yellow Spotted Amazon River Turtle

The Yellow-spotted Amazon River Turtle is one of the largest South American river turtles. It can grow up to 18 in long and weigh up to 20 lbs. This species can be recognized by its black or brown oval carapace (upper shell) with distinctive low keels on the second and third scutes. The yellow spots on the side of its head give this species its common name. Females can be up to twice the size of males.

This species is a 'side-necked' turtle, so called because they do not pull their heads directly into their shell, but rather bend the neck sideways to tuck the head under the rim of the shell. (No place to hide!) Found in tributaries and large lakes of South America's Amazon Basin. During flood season, they may venture into flooded forests or floodplain lakes. They feed on fruits, weeds, fish, and small invertebrates. The average life span of the Yellow-Spotted Amazon River Turtle is 60 to 70 years!

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