River Cooter
Pseudemys concinna

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Chelonia
FAMILY: Emydidae

SIZE:
Carapace length in excess of 16 inches

RANGE:
North America; found statewide in Louisiana

HABITAT:
Rivers mostly, but also in some lakes

DIET:
Both plant and animal matter, adults eat mostly aquatic vegetation

DESCRIPTION:
Large terrapin with webbed toes; head with orange to red striped on top, bottom, and sides; rough carapace brown with orange-yellow concentric and/or curving lines and bars.

ADAPTATIONS:

  • Capable of remaining submerged for two or more hours. Walk along the bottoms of rivers to seek food. Prefer deeper waters and venture onto land to nest.
  • Males have lone claws on the front feet that they may wave or vibrate in the females face before settling to the bottom to mate.
  • Back of shell is often flared and is serrated

YOUNG:

  • Eggs laid in sandy soil in summer; 7 - 15 elliptical eggs per clutch
  • Nest may have 3 opening (2 false side to deter raccoons and other predators.)
  • Young are pretty -- bright yellow -- with many green and black whorls like fingerprints over the carapace.

NOTE:
Used to be common in the pet trade and stil occur on occasion.

STATUS:
Common

REFERENCES:
"The Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana," Harold A. Dundee and Douglas A. Rossman
"Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia", Vol. 6, Reptiles, Dr. Bernhard Grzimek
"Cooters, Sliders, and Painted Turtles," Jerry G. Walls