The Florida red-bellied cooter or Florida redbelly turtle (Pseudemys nelsoni) is a species of the genus Pseudemys. Its range is in Florida, and southern Georgia. The Florida redbelly cooter is mainly herbivorous, and can be found in nearly any type of aquatic habitat. It reaches particularly high densities in spring runs, and occasionally can be found in brackish water. This species is active year-round and spends a large portion of the day basking on logs. They are noted for sometimes laying their eggs in the nest mounds of alligators. The Florida redbelly is closely related to the Peninsula cooter (Pseudemys floridana) and can often be found basking on logs together. The Florida redbelly can be distinguished from the other turtles by its distinctive red-tinged plastron (belly) and two cusps (like teeth) on its upper beak. Like most Pseudemys turtles, this species is a fairly large river turtle. Carapace length in mature turtles can range from 20.3 to 37.5 cm (8.0 to 14.8 in). Females, which average 30.5 cm (12.0 in) in length and weigh 4 kg (8.8 lb), are noticeably larger than males, which are around 25 cm (9.8 in) and 1.8 kg (4.0 lb) in mass.
© Through My Lens - Dennis W. Donohue