the wild, they are strong herbivores, preferring aquatic plants, with younger
turtles taking in some insects.
Low to Mid 80's
Basking Temperature: High 80's to
Low to Mid 70's
Ponds, lakes, ditches, sloughs,
marshes, mangrove-bordered creeks, and rivers, all with abundant vegetation.
Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia
west to Apalachicola, Florida, and south through peninsular Florida.
These are aggressive baskers, so a
basking spot is required. UVB lighting is needed as well as a heat lamp over the
basking spot. A submersible heater is recommended if the water temps fall below
the recommendation. They are excellent swimmers and their captive habitat should
have a water depth as deep as possible. Substrate should be anywhere from a sand
to a fine-to-medium size gravel.
Recommended size for a single adult Pseudemys
nelsoni would be a 90 gallon aquarium as a minimum (100
or larger preferred). This will provide adequate swimming area, as well as
assisting the filtration in maintaining good water quality. For additional Pseudemys
nelsoni, I would recommend adding 100 gallons of tank
space per additional turtle at a minimum.
Stock Tanks and Rubbermaid containers
also work well. The same space recommendations remain the same.
In captivity, they do well on
prepared foods such as Mazuri and ReptoMin, as well as veggies, fruits and aquatic plants.
Florida Red-Bellies are great turtles
for a community habitat with Mud Turtles, Musk Turtles, Sliders, other Cooters,
Map Turtles and Painted Turtles.
Not too many people realize that
Red-Bellies are actually types of Cooters (Yellow-Bellies are Sliders) . Most are very sociable and those that
are shy tend to lose that shyness rather quickly.