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Yellow-spotted River Turtle

Podocnemis unifilis
Conservation Status: 
South America

The Yellow-spotted River Turtle (also known as the Yellow-headed Sideneck Turtle) can grow up to 8 kg in weight and live up to 30 years.

They have an adaptable diet, eating fish and other small animals along with aquatic plants. Their webbed feet help them swim nimbly through their river habitat.

They are known as Sideneck Turtles because they cannot retract their head fully inside their shell. Instead, they tuck their head sideways under the rim of their shell.

Females lay two clutches of eggs each year, with each clutch containing 4 to 35 eggs. They build their nests in sandy areas along riverbanks. The eggs hatch 66 to 159 days after being laid. Interestingly, the incubation temperature determines the sex of the hatchlings. Incubation below 32 degrees Celsius results in males, while incubation above 32 degrees Celsius results in females. Shortly after hatching, the young turtles start foraging for food on their own.

They are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to an inferred population decline.