Photographs on this page courtesy of SFWMD
Cooters and sliders belong to the pond and marsh turtles
which comprise the largest family of living turtles, including diamondback terrapins
, and box turtles
Cooters and sliders are often seen basking on logs and rocks, often piled one on top of another. They're very cautious and will all plunge into the water if approached. The name "cooter" comes from "kuta", the word for turtle in several African dialects.
** PROTECTED **
The Suwanee Cooter
, Pseudemys concinna suwanniensis
, is found in drainage areas of rivers that feed into the Gulf of Mexico from Hillsborough to Gulf County. Its shell has yellow markings that appear to be spirals at a short distance. It also has yellow stripes on its head and front feet. It reaches a maximum length of 16". It leaves its water habitat only to nest during the summer.
The Florida Cooter
, Pseudemys floridana floridana
, is found in the panhandle and northern Florida. Its shell is dark with faint yellow markings. It has yellow markings on its head and feet. It may reach 13" in length.
The Peninsula Cooter
, Pseudemys floridana peninsularis
, is found in lakes and slow-moving streams throughout the state. It is one of the most commonly seen turtles, often basking on banks and logs, or crossing roads. Its shell is brown with yellow lines radiating to the sides. It has yellow markings, some shaped like a hairpin, on its head and neck. It grows to a length of 15".
The Red-eared Slider
, Trachemys scripta elegans
, is found in isolated areas on the peninsula. It was originally found only west of the Mississippi River and often sold in pet stores. It has bright red, orange or yellow patches on each side of its head and grows to 11.5".
The Yellowbelly Slider
, Trachemys scripta scripta
, is found in north Florida. It has a dark shell with lighter wide bars. It has a yellow patch behind each eye and a bright yellow belly with two black spots. It also grows to 11".
[ Reptile Index | Protected Reptiles ]