Northern red-bellied cooter

Northern Red-bellied cooter in the Big Gunpowder Falls River, Maryland – April 18, 2015

Last Saturday was very warm in Maryland and turtles were out basking on logs in the Big Gunpowder Falls River. These northern red-bellied cooters were out in large numbers downstream from the second dam of Loch Raven Reservoir. Red bellied cooters are easily identified by their reddish orange color on the underside of the shell.

Northern red-bellied cooters and a possible red-eared slider (far right) – April 18, 2015

I believe the turtle on the far right might be an older red-eared slider as it lacks the reddish orange markings on underside of its shell. Red-ear sliders are known for having a red stripe behind their eyes that becomes darker as they age. However, I won’t stand firm on that identification because it is a bit hard to tell from this single photograph.

Possible red-bellied cooter in the Big Gunpowder Falls River – April 23, 2015

I caught a shot of this swimming turtle that I would guess is a red-bellied cooter, but it is too hard to tell for certain.

Turtles are surprisingly hard to get close to as they are very shy, and will slip into the water if you are clumsy in your approach. I was behind a tree when this turtle swam up, but he quickly submerged when he spotted me.

Northern Red-bellied cooters in the Big Gunpowder Falls River, Maryland – April 18, 2015



2 thoughts on “Northern red-bellied cooter

  1. Great shots. Never knew turtles were shy…always thought they disappeared when they saw people because they preferred being in the water. I like the first shot best – very orderly line of turtles and it’s like they are going on an expedition together.

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    1. I think they disappear when they see people because they prefer being in the water over a pot of turtle soup. 😊

      Red-bellied cooters are quick to scurry off their log if you get too close, but I’m hoping that I can improve my stalking skills and get some higher resolution shots of their heads.

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