Cooter Turtles, officially known as Pseudemys, are pond turtles which are most commonly to be found in Florida, USA. Other cooters may be found elsewhere in the Florida Everglades and other watery parts of the southeastern US - the name is also used to refer to certain types of snapping turtles. The word "cooter" is derived from the word Kuta in the languages of Bambara and Malinke, and passed into usage in America due to the influx of African slaves.

Cooters can be up to 12 inches long, and like to hang around and take in the sun on riverbanks, often on rocks or logs or other convenient perches, where in their love for the sun they will often clamber on top of each other. They can be various shades of olive or brown, with interspecies differences most often identified through variations in the shell markings. Younger cooters have interesting markings on the underside of their shell that disappear with age.

Cooters like to hide in the winter - they find a deep, muddy spot, usually on the bottom of a shallow stream or other body of water, and they partially bury themselves. If you have a cooter, you have to make sure it's going to be happy in winter by making a suitable hibernation retreat for it. They aren't your usual pet - a foot-long cooter is a bit of a handful to say the least - but to cheloniphiles even a large, muddy cooter is a thing of beauty.

Cooters aren't too fond of meat, but can be persuaded to accept it occasionally. Young cooters especially have a higher protein requirement and will go for such delicacies as insects, worms, or crayfish. Mostly, however, cooters prefer vegetables and other green things - dandelions, spinach, duckweed, water lettuce, etc. Different cooters will like different types of vegetable.

For those of an adventurous mindset, a recipe for Fried Cooter may be found in the endnotes. The main point to note is that the cooter must be cut up into manageable chunks, fried until golden brown, and then well drained before serving.


Cooters On Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooter_Turtle
River Cooters: http://wildflowers.jdcc.edu/Cooter.html
Caring For Your Cooter: http://www.chelonia.org/Articles/pseudemyscare.htm
Fried Cooter: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/martin/wildrecipes/wgrturtle6.htm

Coot"er (?), n. Zool. (a)

A fresh-water tortoise (Pseudemus concinna) of Florida.

(b)

The box tortoise.

 

© Webster 1913.

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