Description: The carapace (top of shell) is often brown or black with vertical yellow and orange markings, while the plastron (bottom of shell) is orange to reddish. Its skin is black with yellowish stripes. Redbelly turtles average 10-12.5 inches (25.4-32 cm) in carapace length.
Feeding/Diet: The redbelly turtle is mainly herbivorous, feeding primarily on aquatic plants.
Activity/Behavior: This is a large basking turtle, which basks on partially submerged stumps, logs, and other objects.
Habitat/Range: In North Carolina, this species is found in canals, streams, lakes, and other bodies of still and slow moving water.
Reproduction: Clutch size ranges from 9 to 18 eggs which are laid in early summer.
Miscellaneous: The red-bellied cooter is listed as threatened by the World Conservation Union. Competition from the more aggressive, introduced red-eared sliders in other parts of their range have contributed to their decline. In North Carolina, they are known to hybridize with Florida cooters.