Scientific Name: Pseudemys floridana floridana
Averaging between 9 and 13 inches, the Florida Cooter is a moderately sized turtle. They are very similar in appearance to the River Cooter. Florida Cooters have a dark carapace and light yellow plastron that lacks a pattern. Their shell is patterned with concentric rings and the head and neck is striped. Males can be differentiated from females by their elongated front claws.
Florida Cooters breed between May and July. The females dig several nest cavities within inches of each other and lay one egg in each cavity. They usually lay at least two clutches, each consisting of between four and twenty-two eggs. The eggs incubate between 80 and 150 days before hatching. Male Cooters mature quicker then females, in about three years. Females usually mature after six or seven years.
Florida Cooters make their home in large ponds, canals, slow-moving rivers, and lakes where there is plenty of vegatation and lots of places to bask in the sun.
The Florida Cooter is of the family emidydae, the largest family of turtles. They enjoy spending most of their time basking in the Florida sun.
They often pile on top of one another to receive the optimal amount of sun. These turtles love to bask! They are not shy about basking with other species of turtle as well. Florida Cooters are very timid animals and if approached, will usually retreat into the water. In the wild the Florida Cooter typically eats aquatic vegetation.
Southeast United States
Florida Cooters are, as the name would suggest, found mainly in Florida with a range that extends into southern North Carolina. The word "cooter" is derived from the African word 'kuta', meaning 'turtle' in many dialects.