Rio Grande Cooter

Rio Grande Cooter
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  • Item #: RGC
 
Scientific Name:  Pseudemys gorzugi

Identification:  Carapace is oval and elongated, flattened, with a slight keel (highest in middle).  The posterior edge of carapace serrated. Carapace is olive with blotches of alternating yellow and black. The 2nd costal scute has four distinct blotches (bulls-eyes) with concentric black and yellow rings.  The plastron is yellow with pigment along seams that fades with age.  Skin is brown or olive with yellow stripes present on neck, legs, and tail. There is a wide yellow stripe down the middle of head and neck.  The central chin stripe extends and forks posteriorly (to Y-shape)
                                                  
Range:  In North America, Pseudemys gorzugi is found along the Rio Grande and Pecos River drainages in Texas and southern New Mexico. Isolated populations have been found in several northern states in Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas).

Diet:  Mainly herbivores, juveniles will eat some fish and insects, but become more vegetarian with age. Pellets and greens, along with occasional fruits, are all they need to thrive.

The Rio Grande Cooter is an absolutely beautiful turtle with a spectacular carapace pattern when young.  They get along with other cooters, painteds and maps in a community tank but eventually grow to pond size.  
The Rio Grande Cooter will spend much of it life living in freshwater and brackish moving water. The ideal habitat for this species will typically be in lakes, ponds, and marshes concentrated with large amounts of vegetation. Importantly all river cooters have webbed feet which will allow them to be excellent swimmers, allowing them to travel through stronger currents and streams. In large groups they will live on the peninsular floodplains. One important feature within these turtles is the amount of sun that is required. Most turtles will need to sun bathe on flack rocks or ledges to maintain a moderate body temperature throughout the year. While asleep these turtles will be submerged in water under deep rooted vegetation, mud, or rocks. These turtles have also adapted to the natural climate. During the winter a turtle can remain dormant for up to two months. During these two months, the turtles will have a relatively low metabolism which allows them to only utilize the oxygen from the water, which they will take in through the cloaca. Turtles that remain dormant through the colder climates

 

 

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