Okefenokee’s Coastal Plain Cooter Turtles

Coastal Plain Cooter Turtle, Pseudemys concinna ssp. floridana, on spatterdock stem called a `gator tator`. Photographed in March 2020 in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia, USA. ©www.williamwisephoto. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally from Dreamstime.com.

While there are reportedly 15 turtles in the Okefenokee Swamp, my most commonly photographed species has been the Coastal Plain Cooter (Pseudemys concinna ssp. floridana). While abundant in the Okefenokee Swamp, they are found all along the coastal plain (hence the common name) from southeastern Virginia, south into Florida, and west into Alabama.

They can be quite large (up to a 13-inch carapace length) and would be quite conspicuous if they didn’t dive off their basking spots long before your canoe approaches. As we paddle along, if I keep my binoculars trained ahead, I typically see these cooters sliding into the water left and right all along the Okefenokee canoe trails. On our springtime Okefenokee trips, one or two will occasionally remain out in the warm sun long enough for a closer photograph being reluctant to dive back into the cool water.


iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/45352341

 

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website www.williamwisephoto.com is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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