Magdalena River Turtle

South America


Podocnemis lewyana


More than 80% of its population have been wiped out for the past two decades due to agricultural expansion within its native habitat as well as conversion of lands for livestock production and dam construction. Commercial exploitation for its meat and other body parts used for medicinal purposes are contributing factors, too.

The Magdalena River Turtle, a member of the prehistoric lineage Podocnemididae, is endemic to Colombia. This ancient freshwater reptile species belongs to the Podocnemididae family because of its inability to move its head backwards but can retract it laterally to the side instead. It has large plates shielding its head and has an average clutch size of 22 eggs.