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Brazilian Snake Necked Turtles native to the
coastal rainforests

The Brazilian Snake-necked Turtle is also known as the
Maximilian Snake-neck Turtle. Its scientific name is Hydromedusa
maximiliani; and it lives only in a few clear, shallow, rocky
bottomed mountainous streams of the Brazilian coastal
rainforest, usually at altitudes above 2,000 feet where the
rivers and streams are cooler than the warm tropical waters

When not active, it hides under bank overhangs or lies
camouflaged on the bottom of the river or stream. When
looking for food, this Snake-neck turtle moves slowly over
the bottom using its long neck to search in the leaf litter
at the stream bends or eddies, or occasionally after a rain
rising to grab something edible that has fallen to the water

The Maximilian Snake-neck Turtle has a flattish, oval, light
to dark-brown carapace with fairly smooth edges in
adulthood. Its sides and plastron are usually black at
birth, changing to yellow-cream colored in adulthood, and
its head, tail and legs are dark on top and yellow

The darker colored young are usually found near the banks
where dead leaves accumulate, and where the higher calcium
food they need for growth, such as crabs and crayfish, can
be found. The adults are more often in the rocky part of the
stream, where their dark tops and yellow-cream bottom parts
make them resemble river rocks. In the dim light of a forest
stream this turtle's shell looks very similar to the fallen
leaves or to the rocky bottom, and it is well camouflaged.

Hydromedusa maximiliani is one of the smallest Brazilian
freshwater turtles, reaching a maximum length of only 7 to 8
inches. The female is smaller and lighter than the male, and
the male has a larger tail and a more concave plastron. Each
side of the mouth has a prominent skin flap, which, with the
short nose and smallish head, gives the face a humorous

Its neck, like that of other Snake-necks, is longer than its
backbone, colored like the head, and has many small lumps or
spines lining it on each side. Its long neck is useful for
hunting about for food without moving from cover, for
breathing while still sitting on the bottom of the shallow
waters in which it commonly lives, for striking fast moving
prey such as insect larvae, and for helping it to turn over
should it fall upside down while on land.

All in all theBrazilian Snake Necked Turtle has a very
unusual and striking appearance. These turtles are active
animals, but only within a small area of a few meters a day,
so they are fairly well suited to tank life as pets,
although they are very rare.

The Brazilian Snake-neck is reported to be primarily
carnivorous, eating the usual carnivorous turtle fare of
worms, snails, small crustaceans, insects, tadpoles and
frogs, salamanders and newts, small fish, and occasional
carrion and plant material. Its care in captivity should be
similar to that of other snake-necked turtles, but with
slightly cooler temperatures available in the cooler parts
of its tank.

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