Eastern River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna concinna)

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Eastern River Cooter
Pseudemys concinna concinna
Eastern River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna concinna)
Name Eastern River Cooter
Name Lat. Pseudemys concinna concinna
Family Pond Turtles & Box Turtles
Family lat. Emydidae
Order Turtles
Order lat. Testudines
Origin S-USA
Habitat Rivers, ponds
Diet Fish, insects, plants
Humidity 50-80 %
Behavior ♂ semi-aggressive
Keeping Individual, harem
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Oviparous
Housing Aquaterrarium
Life Span 25-30 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 30-40 cm
Temperature 25-28 °C
Temperature Local 35-40 °C
Housing Size 200 x 80 x 60 cm
US Units
Size 12"-16"
Temperature 77-82 °F
Temperature Local 95-104 °F
Housing Size 80" x 30" x 25"

Distribution and habitat

The diurnal hieroglyphic jewel turtles are widespread in the southern United States and northern Mexico. The skillful swimmers and divers live in slow-flowing waters, but also in oxbow lakes and lakes with dense vegetation.


Minimum dimensions for the aquaterrarium, according to the size and number of animals

floor space for 1-2 animals: 5PL x 2,5PL (L x W) Water level: 2PB

The carapace length (PL) and carapace width (PB) is measured on the largest animal. For each additional animal, increase the footprint by 10%, and for the 5th animal and larger, increase the footprint by 20%. An aquaterrarium of e.g. L 200 x W 80 x H 60 cm is recommended, which should be placed in a quiet and vibration-free place.

The water part, with a soft, muddy substrate, should be structured with roots, aquatic plants and larger stones (visibility barriers and hiding places), some of which reach the water surface. For this purpose, they need a terrestrial part (approx. 1/3 of the bottom surface) for drying, which is equipped with a soft, muddy-sandy bottom substrate, with plants and roots as well as with sunning places. To maintain water quality, a powerful filter with low flow is recommended, as well as frequent water changes

Water Temp lighting Sunny
Summer 26-28 °C 12-14 hrs. 35-40 °C
Winter (2-3 months) 12-18 °C 8-10 hrs

They need daily UV irradiation and sunny places with radiant heat.


Juveniles feed mainly on animal food, whereas adults feed mainly on plant food. The food supply consists of insect larvae, earthworms, meal beetle larvae, fish pieces, supplemented with pelleted or freeze-dried ready-made food. Frozen food is also well accepted. In addition, they absolutely need vegetable food, such as lettuce, dandelion, endive, and water plants (e.g. waterweed). Adults should be offered animal food no more than twice a week. It is important to regularly add minerals and vitamins.

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

Males have a concave ventral carapace and a much longer tail than females. The anal opening of the male is closer to the tip of the tail than in the female.

A small, sandy patch of land is required for oviposition (6-17 eggs). The incubation period is 66-114 days at a temperature of 23-30 °C.


They stay mainly in the water and usually come ashore only to sunbathe.

In summer, the animals can be kept in an outdoor facility.

Winter hibernation can be in water or earth-moist substrate.

In order not to distort the native fauna, they must not be released into the wild under any circumstances.

The terrarium must have good ventilation without drafts and meet the species-specific needs. Measuring devices such as thermometers, hygrometers, etc. are necessary. The lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and has to be placed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Contamination must be removed regularly.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Christian Sänger; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1997): Tierschutzgutachten - Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Reptilien; ENGELMANN (2006): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Reptilien und Amphibien, Harri Deutsch Verlag; ROGNER (2009): Taschenatlas Schildkröten, Verlag Ulmer

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF