RIVER COOTER
Pseudemys concinna
(LeConte 1830)


sū-dĕm-ēz — kŏn-sĭn-ŭh




A hatchling River Cooter from Wyandotte County. © Jessica Lawrenz.
A River Cooter (left front) and three Pond Sliders (right and in the back) basking on a log in Shoal Creek, Cherokee County. © Jenn Rader.
An adult River Cooter from Greenwood County, KS. Image © Greg Seivert.
An adult River Cooter from Greenwood County, KS. Image © Greg Seivert.
An adult nesting River Cooter from Wyandotte County. © Jessica Lawrenz.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Description:
Numerous yellow lines along the head and neck. The carapace is dark with a network of yellow lines. The rear edge of the carapace is jagged. The plastron is yellow and typically unpatterned, though it may occasionally have dark smudges or circles. Females are considerably larger than males.
Adults normally 190-306 mm (7½-12 inches) in carapace length; largest specimen from Kansas: female (KU 223471) from Labette County with a carapace length of 360 mm (14¼ inches) collected by Alan Hynek on 24 April 1996; maximum carapace length throughout range: 14¾ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
The River Cooter inhabits rivers, streams, watershed lakes, ponds, and lagoons in southeastern Kansas. It is known from the Marais des Cygnes, Neosho/Spring, Verdigris/Fall, Walnut, and lower Arkansas drainages. The record mapped in Collins (1994) from Crawford County is unknown and not mapped. A population (most likely introduced) has become established at Wyandotte County Lake (Missouri River drainage).

(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
Open icons are questionable records; Click on a marker to view details. Export Google Earth (.kml)
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 66 Total Records 
  • 44 Museum Vouchers 
  • 22 Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (5); Bourbon (2); Chase (2); Chautauqua (4); Cherokee (9); Cowley (4); Crawford (3); Elk (1); Franklin (1); Greenwood (4); Labette (10); Lyon (2); Miami (4); Montgomery (3); Neosho (1); Osage (1); Sedgwick (3); Unknown (1); Wilson (3); Woodson (3);

Natural History:
River Cooters are skittish and tend to remain in the water with the exception of basking and nesting. 
They feed primarily on aquatic vegetation, however, juveniles will occasionally eat crayfish and other animal prey.
The River Cooter inhabits large rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes with abundant emergent logs or rocks for basking. Adults feed primarily on aquatic vegetation, while juveniles eat considerably more aquatic insects and other prey. Nesting occurs in June, and females lay between 12-29 elongate eggs. Eggs hatch in 80-150 days. Hatchlings may overwinter in the nest.

Occurrence Activity:
White dates indicate there is at least a single recorded occurrence on that date. The darker blue a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.
Remarks:
A young specimen was taken by seine at Sandy Creek, a branch of the Verdigris river, at a point 5.5 miles northeast of Coyville, in southern Woodson County, Kansas by Charles E. Burt, on 27 June 1931 (Burt and Hoyle, 1935).

Bibliography:
1911 Hurter, Julius. Herpetology of Missouri. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 20(5):59-274
1928 Burt, Charles E. Some distributional and ecological records of Kansas reptiles. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 26():186-208
1934 Burt, Charles E. and W. L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1935 Burt, Charles E. and William L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1956 Clarke, Robert F. Identification of Kansas turtles. Kansas School Naturalist 2(4):1-3
1956 Clarke, Robert F. Turtles in Kansas. Kansas School Naturalist 2(4):1-15
1976 Caldwell, Janalee P. and Gregory. Glass. Vertebrates of the Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Pages 62-76 in Preliminary inventory of the biota of Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Report No. 5. State Biological Survey of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1992 Edds, David R. Population status and incidence of anatomical abnormalities in semiaquatic turtles of the Walnut and lower Arkansas river basins. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. 58pp.
1996 Seidel, Michael E. and Carl H. Ernst. Pseudemys. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (625):1-7
1996 Seidel, Michael E. and Michael J. Dreslik. Pseudemys concinna. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (626):1-12
2001 Taggart, Travis W. The KHS 2001 spring field trip: A rainy rendezvous. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):12-14
2002 Riedle, J. Daren and A. Hynek. Amphibian and reptile inventory of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, Labette County, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (2):18-20
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
Account Last Updated:
7/25/2018 8:37:55 PM


Travis W. Taggart © 2020 — Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University