Suwannee River Cooter

Pseudemys concinna suwanniensis
Carr, 1937
Wacissa River, Wakulla Co., Florida. August 1st, 2008.

Canoeing on the Wacissa with Scott, Sarah and John, we spotted a large river cooter sunning itself on a raft of vegetation. Scott angled the canoe around so that I could take some pictures, and we were able to get pretty close. I kept waiting for the cooter to take off into the water, but she didn’t, and finally we got so close I thought I would try to make a grab for it. I slipped out of the canoe and found myself waist-deep in coontail (Ceratophyllum). It was hard going getting through that stuff, and then I started getting bitten by some kind of little critters who objected to having me intruding into their living space.

I got about five feet from the cooter and she decided to move, but when she crawled into the water, she too was held up by the coontail. Aha! I still had a chance! I thrust forward, reached out and grabbed her up. Yes! I turned back towards the canoe with her so my friends could have a look at her. She was a beautiful turtle, at her prime, her carapace covered in moss. I was still getting bitten below deck, but John and I held her long enough to take a few pictures before letting her go on her way.

My Flickr album for this species is here.

HerpMapper records for this species are here.

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