Eastern River Cooter

Family: 
Emydidae (basking, marsh and box turtles) in the order Testudines (turtles)
Description: 

This large, aquatic turtle has a proportionately small, blunt head. General coloration is an olive-brown upper shell with numerous concentric yellow lines. The head and limbs are normally dark brown or black with many yellow lines. The lower shell is usually plain yellow, or it may have some faint gray markings on the forward section.

Size: 
Adult cooters range in upper shell length from 9 to 13 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
During the spring and summer, cooters spend a considerable amount of time basking in the sun on logs. This species is most abundant in Missouri’s rivers and sloughs but also has taken up residence in some of our state’s large reservoirs.
Foods: 
Aquatic plants make up the bulk of this species’ food, but some aquatic insects, snails and crayfish are occasionally eaten.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Presumed to occur throughout the southern half of the state.