Description: Florida Cooters are large turtles,
ranging in size from 23 to 33 cm (9 - 13 in.), and are flatter
in appearance than the similar slider turtle (Trachemys
scripta). Their carapace has a dark background with a yellow
or orange pattern. The plastron has no markings, and there are
hollow oval markings on the marginal scutes. The yellowish orange
stripes on the head do not form "hairpins", as
in close relative P. peninsularis. The Florida cooter is
very similar in appearance to the peninsula cooter (P. peninsularis)
and River Cooter (P. concinna). Until very recently, P.
peninsularis was considered a subspecies of P. floridana
and recent evidence has suggested that P. concinna and
P. floridana belong to the same species.
Range and Habitat: Florida Cooters are found throughout
the Southeastern Coastal Plain and prefer permanent waters with
soft sandy bottoms and abundant vegetation, such as ponds, lakes,
swamps, marshes, and slow-moving rivers. They are frequently observed
basking on logs.
Habits: Florida Cooters are opportunistic omnivores with
females feeding mainly on aquatic vegetation, while males prey
on a variety of aquatic invertebrates. They are fairly social
turtles, often basking in groups.
Conservation Status: The Florida Cooter's conservation
status is unknown. Monitoring studies must be established to assess
its abundance in Georgia.
Seidel, M. E. 1994. Morphometric analysis and taxonomy of cooter
and red-bellied turtles in the North American genus Pseudemys
(Emydidae). Chelonian Conservation and Biology 1(2): 117-130.
Account Author: Aaliyah Greene - revised by J.D. Willson
Female Florida cooter
Note absence of C-shaped markings on shell