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Eastern river cooter

The eastern river cooter (Pseudemys concinna concinna) is a freshwater turtle native to the central and eastern United States, from Virginia south to mid-Georgia, west to eastern Texas, Oklahoma, and north to southern Indiana. They are usually found in rivers with moderate current, as well as lakes and tidal marshes.


ReproductionEdit

Eastern River cooters mating habits are very similar to a red-eared slider. As with the other basking turtles, the males tend to be smaller than females. The male uses his long claws to flutter at the face of the much larger female. Often, the female ignores him. If the female is receptive, she will sink to the bottom of the river and allow the male to mount for mating. If they do mate, after several weeks the female crawls upon land to seek a nesting site. They often cross highways looking for suitable nesting spots. Females will lay between 12 to 20 eggs at a time, close to water. The eggs hatch within 45 to 56 days and the hatchlings will usually stay with the nest through their first winter.

Mating takes place in early spring. Nesting usually occurs from May to June. The female chooses a site with sandy or loamy soil, within 100 ft (30 m) of the river's edge. She looks for a rather open area, with no major obstacles for the future hatchings to negotiate on their way to the river. The nest is dug with the hind feet. She lays 10–25 or more eggs in one or more clutches. Eggs are ellipsoidal, approximately 1.5 inches (4 cm) long. Incubation time is determined by temperature, but averages 90–100 days. Hatchlings generally emerge in August or September. There have been reported instances of late clutches over-wintering and hatching in the spring. A hatchling will have a round carapace, about 1.5 inches (4 cm) diameter, that is green with bright yellow markings.

[edit]In the wildEdit

In the wild they feed on aquatic plants, grasses, and algae. Younger ones tend to seek a more protein enriched diet such as aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans, and fish. Older turtles may occasionally seek prey as well, but mostly partake of a herbivorous diet.

These turtles can sometimes be found basking in the sun, but are very wary and will quickly retreat into the water if approached. Otherwise, they are difficult to find in the water, which may be due to their ability to breathe while fully submerged. As a result, little is known about their biology and behavior.

One particular distinctive feature of the Eastern River Cooter is that they have the ability to breathe underwater through a sac called the cloaca bursae which is based in their tail. This allows them to stay underwater for extended periods of time, and makes their behavior harder to study.

In The UKEdit

There is a ever growing population of these turtles in the UK. There are around 30-40 breeding populations. It is reconed they got here by people who wanted them just to live in there garden ponds and some have gone else where and started breeding.