Eight different species of turtles call the Everglades home. The group includes the Florida Softshell, Florida Snapping Turtle, Florida Chicken Turtle, Atlantic Leatherback and Hawksbill, the Striped Mud Turtle, the Peninsula Cooter and finally the Lowly Stinkpot. Below is a short description of some of them.
The most common is the Striped Mud Turtle and is found throughout the Everglades. A close associate is the Florida Mud Turtle which lives in freshwater. Both turtles are small with a radius of three to four inches. They have webbed feet used when they are in the water. Neither has a pattern but vary in color from yellow to black.
The next turtle that is quite common is the Florida Red-belly Cooter. Often you will see them lounging on logs in the sun. Found anywhere near freshwater, they can also survive in brackish water. Brackish water is water that has more salt than water, but not as much as seawater. They are known to lay their eggs in alligator mounds since they are generally safe and dry. You will only see the red on their bellies.
Since it has a skunk-like scent when agitated or threatened, Lowly Stinkpot seems like an appropriate name. Most of their lives are spent in the water, sunning themselves in shallow waters or floating amongst vegetation. Just like the Striped Mud Turtle, they are only about three to five inches. Amazing their lifespan is about 50 years.
Typically, the Florida Softshell Turtle has a dark brown to olive green leathery carapace with a white or cream-colored underside. This conceals young turtles from potential predators. For adults, this includes alligators and raptors for juveniles. Nest predators include the fish crow, foxes, raccoons, and skunks. It is one of the largest freshwater softshell turtles in North America with long necks, elongated head, and long snorkel-like noses.
Known for its combative disposition when out of the water, the Florida Snapping Turtle with its powerful beak-like jaws, and highly mobile head and neck are snake-like. While in the water, they will hide in sediment. They have few predators when older, but their eggs are subject to crows, mink, skunks, foxes, and raccoons.
The Florida Chicken Turtle has an unusually long, striped neck that is close to the length of its shell. They have a yellow stripe on both their forelegs and rear legs, with webbed feet for swimming. You will see them regularly on land migrating between aquatic habitats or seeking areas to burrow into the soil. This helps them escape dry conditions. To hibernate they seek soft mud near vegetation and bodies of water. While known to be timid, if they are caught they generally will bite very easily.