The Argentine snake-necked turtle Hydromedusa tectifera ,  also known commonly as the South American snake-necked turtle  is a species of turtle in the family Chelidae. The species is known for the long neck to which its common names refer. Despite appearances, the Argentine snake-necked turtle is probably more closely related to the mata mata Chelus fimbriatus than to the Australian snake-necked turtles in the genus Chelodina. Its carapace is strongly keeled, and it can also be distinguished by black and yellowish markings along its head and neck. Generally, the females are larger than the males which often have larger tails. The Argentine snake-necked turtle lives in slow-moving ponds, rivers, streams, and marshes, preferably with aquatic vegetation.
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The Argentine snake-necked turtle Hydromedusa tectifera is one of two South American snake-necked turtles in the genus Hydromedusa Family - Chelidae. While they appear, at least externally, to resemble the Australian snake-necked turtles in the genus Chelodina , they are probably more closely related to my personal favorite, the bizarre Matamata Chelus fimbriatus.
The Hydromedusa genus is characterized by the extremely long neck and flattened head and neck. It is distinguished from the Australasian snake-necked genus Chelodina by the nuchal scute which is pushed back completely behind the marginal scutes into the row of vertebral scutes.
Also, an intergular scute completely separates the gulars. Two species of Hydromedusa are recognized: the Argentine or South American snake-necked turtle Hydromedusa tectifera , Cope ; and the Brazilian or Maximillian's snake-necked turtle Hydromedusa maximiliani , Mikan, The range of Hydromedusa maximiliani seems to be limited to the area in and around the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, in southeastern Brazil.
The two species are easily distinguished. Hydromedusa tectifera is larger to over 11 inches , and is strongly keeled with rough vertebral and coastal scutes, becoming smoother with age. It has a black line on the side of its head and a yellowish-white streak running from its nostrils to the end of its neck. The smaller H. Sexual dimorphism is minimal in H. Females reach a larger size, and mature males exhibit a plastral concavity centered on the midline of the rear plastral scutes.
In the wild, H. It is carnivorous, preying on small fish, amphibians and snails. The weak jaws are not suited to crushing the shells, but its flat narrow head helps it clean out the contents by allowing it to place its jaw right inside the shell opening.
It is reported to be nervous and shy and to retain these characteristics in captivity. My wife and I currently have two specimens in our possession: a female approximately 4 years of age, and a male we hope!
We just recently acquired the male so I will restrict my comments to the female which we have had for nearly two years. We have kept her outside from April to November and inside the rest of the year. Pritchard writes that H.
My initial research regarding the climatic conditions in their home range indicates that it might be possible for them to remain outside all year round in parts of Southern California. However, I don't intend to risk leaving them outside in the winter until I have independent confirmation of this. For the most part she remains under water and develops a thick blanket of algae on her very sculptured carapace.
Somewhat contrary to other reports she has lost enough shyness to "hand-feed" rather aggressively, and competes well for food even with our more aggressive Australian snake-necked turtles. Feeding time is usually exciting. They are quite adept at catching free swimming fish, especially in the close quarters of an aquarium! Both of our specimens seem to be doing well in captivity and have lost some of their shyness. Through hand feeding them I have discovered that they do indeed have a weak bite and there is no danger to the "hand-feeder" as there can be with some other chelonians.
Overall, they are active, aware, hardy and enjoyable animals. Pritchard, P. Encyclopedia of Turtles. New Jersey: T. Publications Inc. Obst, F. Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins. New York: St. Martins Press, Membership and Chapters Membership Application Donations.
Adoptions Adoption Application. Bibliography Pritchard, P. Originally published in the Tortuga Gazette 28 5 : , May
Argentine snake-necked turtle
The Argentine snake-necked turtle Hydromedusa tectifera is one of two South American snake-necked turtles in the genus Hydromedusa Family - Chelidae. While they appear, at least externally, to resemble the Australian snake-necked turtles in the genus Chelodina , they are probably more closely related to my personal favorite, the bizarre Matamata Chelus fimbriatus. The Hydromedusa genus is characterized by the extremely long neck and flattened head and neck. It is distinguished from the Australasian snake-necked genus Chelodina by the nuchal scute which is pushed back completely behind the marginal scutes into the row of vertebral scutes.
California Turtle & Tortoise Club