Mesoclemmys gibba

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Scientific Name: Mesoclemmys gibba

South American Name: cágado-de-poças-da-floresta. (Forest puddle terrapin.)

Length: up to 23cms. Males rarely exceed 17cms.

Appearance: The head is narrow when compared to other members of the same genus. The carapace is generally brown, but may vary from grey to black and is broad and fairly smooth. 

Habitat: Occurs throughout the Orinoco and Amazon basins. Lives in permanent waterbodies and lakes and is rarely found in the forest.

Diet: Omnivorous. They eat fruit, invertebrates, tadpoles and fish. Since they are mainly nocturnal, they use vibrations which are detected by the large tympanum and the fringes on the scales on their legs to detect their prey.

Reproduction: The female may construct 2 nests a year and lay 2 - 4 white, hard-shelled eggs in a shallow nest which is covered with leaves at the end of the rainy season. The incubation period varies from 178 to 200 days.

Exploitation: This species is rarely hunted or captured for food because it smells bad and is hard to find because of its noturnal habits.