The Alabama Redbelly Turtle
Alabama redbellied turtle, red belly, cooterStatus
Listed Endangered by the U.S fish and wildlife service. Global Rank: G1 State Rank: S1
The Alabama Redbelly Turtle is also known for it species name, which is Pseudemys alabamensis. According to the research in Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoise “Pseudemys alabamensis are compare very close to the P. rubriventris because they have a central notch in the upper jaw and they also have strips that run on their heads (Leary et al., 2008). The Alabama Redbelly Turtle is considered to be a pond turtle and pretty large with a female shell being up to 375mm and a male 295mm (Leary et al., 2008). James Masek, Wildlife Biologist, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, says most of the turtle have unique colors, greenish to dark brown or black with yellowish, orangish, or reddish markings that usually covers their shells (Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, n.d.). These marking usually grow faint as the turtle get a bit older, however, you may see the pale-yellow color or reddish underneath the shell of the turtle. This turtle is also the official state reptile for the state of Alabama.
The range of the Alabama red bellied turtle is not very big at all. According to Leary, Dobie, Mann, Floyd, and Nelson (2008) the Alabama redbelly turtle is found in “southwestern Alabama and southeastern Mississippi” (p. 4) as seen in the map above. The map is a state Map of both Mississippi and Alabama showing the area where most of the distribution of these species occur. In Alabama they show up largely in the Tensaw River, Raft River, and Minette Bay and in Mississippi the show in the marsh sluggish bayous the drain to the Pascagoula River (Leary et al., 2008). James Masek states that “Range is restricted to the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta in Mobile and Baldwin counties adjacent to Mobile Bay” (Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, n.d).
From my studies these species of reptiles definitely love the water. They are freshwater water creatures and therefore are found in ponds, streams, rivers, bays, and bayous. “They seem to prefer habitats having soft bottoms and extensive beds of submergent aquatic macrophytes” (Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, n.d).
Life History and Ecology
There isn’t much data on the life of these Alabama red bellied turtles since they are only founded in about two states Alabama and Mississippi. These are colorful creatures that live most of their days sitting on logs of ponds and eating aquatic plants. These creatures usually stay in aquatic area like pond, streams, and other marsh like areas, however, when the female turtle is ready to give life to her young, the turtle will do so on dry land. The Alabama redbelly turtles usually lay up to 4-9 eggs. The mother turtle tries to lay her eggs in area where the young can reach food like leaves and banks of rivers. This leaves the young at danger to predators such as crows, racoons, alligators, and even fire ants. When it comes to adult turtle’s humans may be the biggest threat. Alabama Red bellied turtle life expectancy is not quite known (Leary et al. 2018; McDowell, 2016). Ian McDowell (2016) states in his article Alabama Red bellied Turtle, that “Many aspects of the life cycle of the species are poorly understood, and little is currently known about its courtship, mating, and reproductive habits”.
Basics for Being Endangered
These species of turtles were listed endangered by U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in 1987. “The Alabama red-bellied turtle was thought to be endemic, meaning found nowhere else in the world. In recent years, however, a population was discovered in the Pascagoula River of southeastern Mississippi” (McDowell, 2016). These creatures have been listed endangered because as little one they don’t really have a fair fight with their predators. They are prayed on by hog, crows, racoons, and even fire ants that come into their nesting grounds and take them as snacks and destroy their home. These larger animals are able to eat small creature before and after their recent births
The adults have to fear human taking away their habitats, which is one of the biggest reasons many animals go endangered. The adults also have to worry about pollution and destruction of vegetation beds and not to mention boats. When fisherman come out on the rivers with their boats if they are not careful they can be taking the lives of these already endangered turtles. The propellers on the boats does damage to their habitats as well as themselves.
Personally, I think we should first take steps in getting to know these poorly understood species, since there isn’t much research on them. As a human we could try to preserve their habitats and make them private areas. This could keep poachers and other fisherman from destroying their habitat. Public awareness goes a long way when it comes to preserving. When it comes to other animals and them attacking those creatures we can only try to keep or build guard and traps. However, that could be harming to the other animals.
Work Cited/ References
“Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle – Elena Oldendorf’s Portfolio.” Google Sites, sites.google.com/site/elenasportfoliosite/inquiry-and-intellectual-growth-1/samples-of-academic-work/alabama-red-bellied-turtle-paper.
“Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle Photos and Facts.” Arkive, www.arkive.org/alabama-red-bellied-turtle/pseudemys-alabamensis/.
“Alabama Redbelly Turtle – Pseudemys Alabamensis – Details.” Encyclopedia of Life, eol.org/pages/793829/details.
Carter, Tania. “The Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle.” Australian Wildlife | Brisbane | Workplace Reptile Safety Training, 29 July 2010, coolcompanions.com.au/blog/red-bellied-turtle.
Leary, Christopher, et al. “Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises.” IUCN/SSC, 2008, www.iucn-tftsg.org/toc-ind/.
Masek, James. “Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle.” Outdoor Alabama, www.outdooralabama.com/turtles/alabama-red-bellied-turtle.
McDowell, Ian. “Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle.” Encyclopedia of Alabama, 10 Nov. 2016, www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-3834.
Poke, Darren. “5 Interesting Facts About Alabama Red-Bellied Turtles.” Hayden’s Animal Facts, 15 Feb. 2016, haydensanimalfacts.com/2016/02/15/5-interesting-facts-about-alabama-red-bellied-turtles/.
US Fish and Wildlife Service. 1987. ?Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants: determination of endangered status for the Alabama red-bellied turtle.? Federal Register 52:22939-22943.
Wakefield, Truett. “The Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle.” Prezi.com, 21 Oct. 2012, prezi.com/xeqh9iv2cd2j/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share.