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River Cooter
River Cooter
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River Cooter

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The river cooter basks on logs or sun-warmed rocks, and is frequently found in the company of other aquatic basking turtles (sliders and painteds) sometimes piled up on top of each other. All are quick to slip into the water if disturbed. 

As young individuals all of the species listed above can be housed in any standard aquarium. They all require large water areas, but also the provision of a dry area where they can get fully out of the water in order to bask and let their shells dry out if they wish. This can either be an area of raised substrate or a floating turtle dock, of which there are many forms commercially available. All turtles should be provided with water deep enough to be able to swim in, however in one place the water should only be deep enough that at full stretch the turtle can reach the surface to breathe while keeping their hind feet on the substrate. This means that the turtle can rest while under water. Remember that in the species like snappers and softshells who habitually conceal themselves below the substrate it will be necessary to have at least part of the water at the correct depth that they can breathe (again at full stretch) without having to leave the bottom and come to the surface, the rest of the water can be deeper to allow swimming room.

Species – Cooter Turtle – Pseudemys concinna             

Current Size - 7.5cm

Adult Length -  23cm - 33cm

Temperature Range – 21 - 25°C

Special Requirements - In captivity, cooters need an aquatic habitat, with a dry basking area. They need a warming light and UVB radiation (from reptilelights or direct sunshine). As juveniles, they can be kept in a 20- or 30-gallon long tank, but they will outgrow those accommodations, and need a very large tank or outdoor pond. A basking spot and UV will need to be provided for the indoor period. The UV requirements of the turtles will be met by basking in daylight during the summer months. As with the indoor enclosures, outdoors turtle habitats require a pump and filter to maintain the water quality.

Tanks Mates and Compatibility – We would suggest keeping them in a species only tank - though keeping 2 males in the same tank is not recommended.

Feeding – River Cooters are herbivores. There are commercially available diets available, like those from Zilla or ReptoMin. Along with that they can be fed aquatic plants (such as Water Lilies, Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, Anacharis, Water Lettuce, Water Fern, Pondweed, Water starwort, Hornwort, Water milfoil, and Frogbit), vegetables (such as Zucchini, Squash, Collard Greens, Beet Leaves, Endive, Romaine, Red Leaf Lettuce, Kale, Escarole, Mustard Greens and Dandelions) and some fruits (i.e. Banana).

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Please note – Some images used are library photos and will show the colour  potential at a fully mature size, as our fish are juveniles they may vary.