River Cooter

Pseudemys concinna


Pseudemys concinna is a large pond and river turtle found throughout the state and a large area of the southeast. Shell is oval-shaped, olive or dark brown, often with a “streamlined” shape with serrated edges on the posterior of the carapace (Guyer et al., 2015). Yellow markings can have a variety of prevalence on the carapace, and an identifying trait is a “C” shape on the second pleural scutes. A narrow arrow shape may exist between the eyes. Individuals usually have 5 narrow lines between the eyes, and other typical yellow markings found in Emdydids (Powell et al., 2016).

Adult male found foraging along the river’s edge, Tishomingo Co. (MS)

Identifying Traits

  • Light “C” on second pleurals
  • “Streamline” shell shape
  • No “teeth” on beak as in P. alabamensis


Found in a wide variety of water bodies, often taking liking to flowing streams


Often found basking in wetlands, nests in sandy soils


Aquatic and wetland vegetation

Large female river cooter returning from laying eggs in a nearby yard, St. Martin Par. (LA), © CJ Hillard
Young P. concinna from a south MS stream, Stone Co. (MS)
Adult female from a small creek, Washington Par. (LA)