Florida Red-Belly

 

 

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Pseudemys nelsoni

ADULT SIZE

Male   7" - 9"            Female   11" - 13"

DIET

In the wild, they are strong herbivores, preferring aquatic plants, with younger turtles taking in some insects.

TEMPERATURE RANGE (F)

Air Temperature:  Low to Mid 80's

Basking Temperature:  High 80's to Low 90's

Water Temperature:  Low to Mid 70's

HABITAT

Ponds, lakes, ditches, sloughs, marshes, mangrove-bordered creeks, and rivers, all with abundant vegetation.

DISTRIBUTION

Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia west to Apalachicola, Florida, and south through peninsular Florida.

BEGINNER TURTLE

Yes

CAPTIVE HABITAT

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 ENCLOSURE

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.

CAPTIVE DIET

In captivity, they do well on prepared foods such as Mazuri and ReptoMin, as well as veggies, fruits and aquatic plants.

COMMUNITY HABITAT

Florida Red-Bellies are great turtles for a community habitat with Mud Turtles, Musk Turtles, Sliders, other Cooters, Map Turtles and Painted Turtles.

OTHER INFORMATION

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.