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Sightings arranged by: Taxonomy Location Date Scientific Name
Pseudemys nelsoni — Florida Red-bellied Cooter
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.
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.
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.
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 never disappoints fans of the Florida red-bellied cooter.
I went back the next day to see more turtles. Actually, I was hoping to see more snakes, but I settled for more turtles.
"Look at me, Pa, I'm flying!"
Are you ready for your close-up, Mr. Nelsoni?
Hmm, what's that gray lumpy thing floating past this basking turtle? Why, it's a manatee!
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