Florida Red-bellied Cooter
Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, Monroe County, Florida—December 30, 1998
This turtle was frolicking (well, frolicking lazily in a turtle-like fashion) in a pond right outside the visitors center. It was wary enough of people to only surface on the far side, though, making for a pretty murky photo.
This species was my best guess based on the glimpses I got of the shell pattern and this lousy photo. It might have been a Peninsula Cooter though.
Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area, Volusia County, Florida—September 20, 2001
Dr. Peter May
and I were driving slowly along the dikes at Emeralda Marsh when we noticed this turtle trapped on the metal grate of some sort of platform. We rescued him, but would he repay us by sticking his little shy turtle head out of his shell? No, he wouldn't.
For more about the wildlife of Emeralda Marsh, check out Dr. May's Emeralda Journal.
Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida—February 22, 2004
As a native of California, where turtles are very rare, I am always delighted to see any turtles, anywhere. The Everglades is a great spot for a turtle fix.
The upper turtle here (whom we shall refer to as Yertle), has a sizable hole in its shell. I have no idea how this happened, but it did look suspiciously alligator-tooth-sized.
Turner River Road, Big Cypress National Preserve, Collier County, Florida—March 20, 2004
One more Red-bellied Cooter, this one from along the borrow canal parallel to Turner River Road. We must have seen a couple of dozen of these turtles just driving slowly along the road, without even getting out to look much.
Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida—December 29, 2008
Anhinga Trail never disappoints fans of the Florida red-bellied cooter.
Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida—December 30, 2008
I went back the next day to see more turtles. Actually, I was hoping to see more snakes
, but I settled for more turtles.
Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida—March 19, 2011
"Look at me, Pa, I'm flying!"
Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, Monroe County, Florida—April 2, 2011
Are you ready for your close-up, Mr. Nelsoni?
Blue Spring State Park, Volusia County, Florida—March 1, 2013
Hmm, what's that gray lumpy thing floating past this basking turtle? Why, it's a manatee!
Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida—March 12, 2013
Perhaps some day I will get bored of Florida Red-bellied Cooters at Anhinga Trail. But, that day is not today.
- Bartlett, R. D., Bartlett, P. B. 1999. A Field Guide to Florida Reptiles and Amphibians
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Carmichael, P., Williams, W. 1991. Florida's Fabulous Reptiles & Amphibians
- Conant, R., Collins, J. T. 1998. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition, expanded
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Ernst, C. H., Barbour, R. W. 1989. Turtles of the World