Scientific and Common Name & Habitat
Pseudemys rubriventris bangsi is the scientific name for the common named Plymouth Red-bellied cooter. These turtles can be found in deep ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and marshes. They mostly live in freshwater.
Food Sources & History of Events
Red-bellied turtles are omnivores that feed on snails, plants, worms, tadpoles, crayfish, and insect larvae. These turtles are endangered throughout Massachusetts. Their population had been reduced to 200-300 turtles by 1980s. By 2007, there were estimated to be about 400-600 breeding age turtles across 20 ponds. Reasons for endangerment are overhunting. Skunks, raccoons, birds, and fish eat the turtle's eggs and hatchlings. Their habitat is threatened by draining of the wetlands. Another major issure to endangerment is loss of habitat by filling in ponds with houses.
In 1983, The Massasoit National Wildlife Refuge was established to help conserve the Plymouth red-bellied turtles. At the current moment, measures are being taken to preserve the turtle's habitats and protecting of the nests. There are many "head start" programs in Massachusetts to help raise the hatchlings until they are big and strong enough to survive on their own.
The turtles hibernate in mud at the bottoms of rivers during the winter time. The description of a red-bellied turtle, as you can see, is a brown/black carapace and concave scutes. Each scute has a red bar and there is a stripe on the head. Scutes are lightly marked and the males have straight claws on front feet. Dimensions are 10-15 inches. These turtles breed during June and July. There are 8-20 eggs in a clutch, dimension of egg is 1 inch. Time period it takes to hatch is 10-15 weeks, but sometimes they don't hatch until the following year. Their natural lifespan is 40-45 years. The red-bellied turtle gets its name from its reddish plastron.