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Home > Turtles > Where to Buy Mata Mata Turtles in 2024? Adoption, Online & Retail Options

Where to Buy Mata Mata Turtles in 2024? Adoption, Online & Retail Options

Mata Mata Turtle

PetKeen advocates for adopting before shopping. We understand there are many reasons for seeking a breeder or purchasing from a store, though, so we encourage it to be done the right way. Learn more.

The Mata Mata turtle is native to South America’s Amazon and Orinoco River basins. They have a flat, pancake-like body, a long neck, and a head adorned with numerous flaps that resemble fallen leaves and debris, providing exceptional camouflage in muddy water. If you are considering getting one of these pets for your home, keep reading as we look into where to buy them and how to adopt them. We also provide tips for caring for them.


Mata Mata Turtles as Pets: What to Know Before Welcoming One Into Your Home

Mata Mata turtles are amazing animals, but they don’t make great pets for everyone. They require a large, well-maintained aquatic enclosure with clean, warm water and a basking area. Their unique dietary preferences, habitat needs, and sensitivity to water conditions make them better suited for experienced owners. They are not affectionate, like cats or dogs, and prefer a solitary lifestyle.

Mata mata Turtle
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock


Where to Adopt Mata Mata Turtles

If you are considering adopting a Mata Mata turtle, look for reputable breeders who prioritize the welfare of their animals and follow ethical breeding standards. Reptile rescues and shelters may occasionally have Mata Mata turtles needing homes, and adopting from these organizations supports ethical pet ownership.

1. Local Animal Shelter

One of the best places to adopt a turtle is from the local animal shelter. It’s possible that they have one in need of a home, and adopting can help free up important resources. Adopting is often much less expensive than purchasing from a breeder.

close up shot of mata mata turtle on a rock
Image Credit: Dwi Nurcahyo Apriyanto, Shutterstock

2. Social Media

When searching for a Maa Mata turtle, it can be helpful to post on social media, as someone could be looking to rehome one that they own. This way, you’ll also get to see the animal in person before adopting them. These pets are often less expensive than purchasing from a breeder, and the previous owners can tell you more about them. They may also be looking to sell the habitat and equipment at a discount.


Where to Buy Mata Mata Turtles Online

1. Big Apple Herp


Big Apple Herp is a fantastic place to purchase a Mata Mata turtle. It offers overnight delivery and has been in business for over 30 years. It has many other turtles besides the Mata Mata and several other types of reptiles. You can also purchase food and get tips on caring for the animals.

2. Backwater Reptiles


Backwater Reptiles is a great place to get your Mata Mata turtle, and it offers a large selection of other reptiles. Pets usually arrive in 2–3 days, and you can also purchase food there. All animals have a 7-day guarantee.

3. The Turtle Source

The Turtle Source

The Turtle Source is ideal for finding many reptiles, including the Mata Mata turtle. You can also purchase your turtle’s food and other supplies. It offers overnight shipping, a health certificate, and a 7-day health guarantee.

How Much Do Mata Mata Turtles Cost Online?

The cost of your Mata Mata turtles can vary significantly depending on which organization you go with. However, you can expect to spend $350 to $900 at most retailers.


Pet Stores That Sell Mata Mata Turtles

Pet stores can be a convenient way to purchase your Mata Mata turtle, but it’s important to research the reputation of any location before buying. The downside to pet stores is that they may not always have detailed knowledge about the specific care requirements of Mata Mata turtles.

1. PetSmart

petsmart logo small

PetSmart is a great place for finding your Mata Mata turtle. There are many locations across the United States, with one or more likely within driving distance of your home.

2. Petco


Petco is a fantastic option with many locations and a large selection of pets that can often include Mata Mata turtles. Pet stores like Petco are also ideal for getting the equipment that you need to care for your turtle.

How Much Do Mata Mata Turtles Cost in Store?

Like purchasing them via other methods, the cost of your Mata Mata turtle at a pet store can vary significantly. However, most seem to fall within the $500–$1,000 range, which is only slightly more than an online source. You also have the benefit of getting to see the turtle in person.


Mata Mata Turtles Breeder Information

When choosing a breeder for your Mata Mata turtle, look for one who prioritizes ethical practices over profit. Responsible breeders play a significant role in the availability of these turtles as pets, so look for reputable breeders who emphasize the welfare of their animals, follow ethical breeding standards, and provide proper care and information to potential adopters. Research their reputation, and visit their facilities if possible before making any choices.

mata mata turtle with dark background
Image Credit: belizar, Shutterstock

Tips for Adopting or Buying a Mata Mata Turtle:

  • Educate yourself about Mata Mata turtles, including their habitat, diet, behavior, and specific care requirements, so you are fully prepared to meet their needs.
  • Explore options for adopting a Mata Mata turtle from reptile rescues, shelters, or reputable breeders.
  • Choose a reputable breeder or pet store that prioritizes the turtle’s welfare if you’re buying.
  • Check local regulations regarding the ownership of Mata Mata turtles, and obtain any necessary permits.
  • Inspect the turtle closely for signs of good health, such as clear eyes, clean skin, and active behavior. Avoid turtles that show signs of illness or distress.
  • Ensure that you have a suitable and well-maintained enclosure before bringing home your Mata Mata turtle. These reptiles need a spacious aquatic habitat with clean water, proper heating, and UV lighting. Many online retailers have guides for providing a suitable habitat.
  • Learn about the turtle’s dietary needs, which include fish, insects, and other aquatic prey. Ensure that you can provide a varied and nutritionally balanced diet.
  • Join local or online reptile enthusiast groups or forums to exchange information and experiences with other Mata Mata turtle owners.



Mata Mata turtles are best suited to experienced owners due to their complex habitat and dietary needs. If that sounds like you, we recommend checking your local rescue organizations and animal shelters to see if they have one available. It’s also good to post on social media to see if someone wants to rehome their pet. If none are available in your area, contacting a reputable breeder can help, but the easiest way will be to use an online resource, like Big Apple Herp, which can ship the animal to you overnight and guarantee that they will arrive alive. Online sources also frequently have comprehensive guides to help owners create a suitable habitat.

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Featured Image Credit: Danny Ye, Shutterstock

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