Skip to content

Chaco Side-necked Turtle

Acanthochelys pallidipectoris


The Chaco side-necked turtle is endemic to arid regions of the Gran Chaco of Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia.

The arid environment limits the distibution of this small turtle to seasonally flooded lowlands of dry shrub forest where shallow water can pool following the rare but heavy summer rains.

This enigmatic turtle is threatened by habitat loss due to cattle ranching and soybean production, illegal collection for the international pet trade, and climate change-driven fluctuations in rainfall and temperature.

The species is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List due to ongoing declines and a small population, estimated to be below 2,500 and maybe below 1,000 individuals. The Chaco Side-necked Turtle has a protected status in Paraguay and Argentina. Its only known occurrence in Bolivia is in a national reserve, however here their protection may not be very effective. Inclusion on CITES would be extremely beneficial to the future of this turtle.

  • Order: Testudines
  • Family: Chelidae
  • Population: <1,000
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 12.8- 17.5cm (?)

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.91 (?)
ED Score: 45.207 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This species is found in the arid part of the Gran Chaco in Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia.

Habitat and Ecology

Males and females become reproductively mature at about 13-14 cm carapace (the hard upper shell of a turtle) length and 325-400 g. It is likely that in the wild this species may only breed during optimal years, with mating occurring terrestrially during the short rainy season at the peak of the summer. A single clutch of 2-5 eggs per breeding season.

Find out more