Florida Red Bellied Turtle
Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo
|Scientific Name:||Pseudemys nelsoni|
|Length:||14.5 inches||14.5 inches|
|Weight:||4 pounds||8 pounds|
|Maturity:||5-9 years||5-9 years|
Lifestyle and Lifespan
|Gestation:||Lays 12 to 30 or more eggs; egg laying peaks in late spring and early summer|
|Lifespan in the Wild:|
|Lifespan in Captivity:||25 years|
|South through peninsular Florida, and most southern Georgia.|
|Status in the Wild:|
High arched elongated carapace is up to 13 inches in length. Medial keel is lost in adults. Carapace is variable in color, but usually black with red or yellow markings on the marginals and a transverse bar across the front costal scutes. Plastron is reddish orange and may be plain or carry a pattern that fades with age. Head is moderate in size and has a prominent notch at the tip of the upper jaw and a non-protruding snout. Skin is black with yellow stripes. Males have elongated slightly curved foreclaws and long thick tails. Females are slightly larger than males.
The family Emydidae includes approximately 95 species in 33 genera. Members are distributed throughout North America, northern South America, Europe, northwestern Africa, and Asia. Emydids are primarily freshwater species, though some species inhabit brackish waters or are terrestrial.
This species has a deeper and much heavier shell than its more northern cousins. This may have evolved as being less likely to be cracked by alligators which are only found in the south.
Lives in ponds, lakes, ditches, marches and slow moving streams.
Adults are highly herbivorous, preferring aquatic plants. Also eat carrion.
This turtle is quite unique as it lives around alligators and with a thick shell they are not a part of the alligators diet.
Activity and Behavior
Most of the day is spent basking.
More research is needed.
12 eggs each year.
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Florida Red bellied turtles are confirmed baskers, lying many hours on a sunny day on logs or floating mats of vegetation.
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