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Reptile Gallery


order Testudines

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family Emydidae (Freshwater Water Turtle)

Red-ear Slider Trachemys scripta elegans (Chrysemys scripta elegans)

This a very common terrapin that has been introduced throughout North America by "pet" release.  Grows to about 8" long.  Green shell with highlights of yellow, brown, and black.  Head and neck are green and yellow striped with one thick red line at the "ear".  These turtles thrive in shallow, slow moving water, like streams, lakes, and pods.  Young sliders are carnivorous; they eat insects, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, tadpoles, and small fish.  As adults they become herbivorous; their main food source is aquatic plants.  They like to bask in the sun, sometimes several together or on top of each other.  These bright turtles darken with age.  Old ones are nearly black without yellow stripes or red spot.

Terrapins carry salmonella.  Care is needed in handling.

Photos taken in Taylor County, August 2005, April 2006

Baby turtle's name is Harry.  Photos taken in Rancho Cordova, California, May 1965

(Native of Texas)


Other Species Found in My Area

family Chelydridae (Snapping Turtle)

Common Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina

This fat animal does not fit inside its shell.  Dark shell with spines at back edge.  Large head; large clawed front legs; long tail with ridge that does not retract.  On land it will strike with enough force to propel its body forward but prefers to swim away in water.  Generally a bottom scavenger of plants, invertebrates, insects, and carrion, but it will take a baby duck if the opportunity arises.

(Native to Texas - Shackelford, Coke)


family Emydidae (Box and Pond Turtle)

False Map Turtle Graptemys pseudogeographica

Mostly dark shell with central keel.  Dark body with light "eye brows".

(Native to Texas, Shackelford)


Texas Map Turtle Graptemys versa

Green shell intricately patterned in yellow and red with bumpy central keel.  Green body intricately patterned in yellow and red.

(Native to Texas - Brown, Coleman, Runnells, Coke)


Texas River Cooter Pseudemys texana

Green shell mostly dark green.  Green body with thin yellow stripes.  Nose is "piggy".  Similar to Yellow Slider.

(Native to Texas - Brown, Coke)


Ornate Box Turtle Terrapene ornata

High domed shell, black with yellow starburst stripes.  Dark body with white or red spots.

(Native to Texas - Taylor, Callahan, Brown, Coleman, Runnells, Nolan, Fisher)


Yellow Slider (Yellow bellied Slider, Yellow eared Slider) Trachemys scripta scripta

Like Red-ear Slider but with large yellow "ear" stripe instead of red patch.

(Introduced to Texas)


family Kinosternidae (Mud Turtle)

Yellow Mud Turtle Kinosternon flavescens

Under 6" long.  Dark gray shell and body except for light yellow under jaw.  Shell is domed and keeled.

(Native to Texas - Taylor, Shackelford, Callahan, Brown, Coleman, Runnells, Coke, Fisher)


Common Musk Turtle Sternotherus odoratus

High domed shell, dark with three keels.  Long necks, short legs, pointed nose.  Dark body has yellow stripes and spots.  Males have long tails.  Glands provide a stinky fluid when turtle is distressed.

(Native to Texas - Runnells)


family Trionychidae (Soft-shell Turtle)

Smooth Softshell Apalone mutica

Smooth flat brown shell.  Brown body.  Nose sharply pointed.

(Native to Texas - Runnells, Coke)


Spiny Softshell Apalone spinifera pallidus

Smooth flat brown shell with yellow edge.  Small bumps along the front edge near head.  Brown body with yellow and black stripes.  Nose sharply pointed.

(Native to Texas)

(A. spinifera pallidus - Taylor, Jones, Shackelford, Eastland)

(A. spinifera guadalupensis - Brown, Coleman, Runnells, Coke)


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