Mata Mata Turtle

There are many animals in this world that have evolved into strange forms and images, the aardvark and the platypus, for example. Perhaps less known but no less weird is the mata mata turtle. This South American turtle has evolved to look like leaves and debris scattered on the river bottom where it hides in wait, ready to ambush unsuspecting prey. Jean-Michel Cousteau, his son Fabien, and daughter Celine, came across one of these turtles while diving in the Amazon River in the film Return to the Amazon, part of the PBS series Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventures. Jean-Michel discovered that although the turtle looks bizarre to him, perhaps the mata mata feels the same about Jean-Michel.