Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Florida Redbelly Turtle

Judy and I were recently in Florida and saw four or five Florida redbelly turtles, also known as Florida red-bellied cooters, near the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park. I grew up in an area that did not have native turtles, at least that I ever saw, and partially as a consequence, I have a fascination with them. This particular species of turtle is found in Florida and a small part of southern Georgia. One of the distinguishing characteristics is a notch on the upper jaw bordered on both sides by strong cusps. 
They often nest in alligator nests and those we saw were very close to the numerous alligators we saw in the area. These turtles get quite large and apparently are eaten by humans (often exported for that purpose) and are popular as pets. We saw two out of the water, one right at the edge at the base of a tree 

and another basking on a log just above the water. 
I watched one swimming underwater and travel about 30 yards, 
coming up several times for air. Another was among a bunch of vegetation which it was eating. 


  1. "Red-bellied cooter"--now there's a great name!

    1. I was thinking the same thing, Chris. I can think of someone we are related to that fits that name...

    2. Isn't Cooter the name of someone on the Andy Griffith show? I'd never heard it in relation to a turtle before.