Fun Plymouth Red-bellied Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Plymouth Red-bellied Facts For Kids

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The species of Northern red-bellied cooter or the American red-bellied turtle of the Pseudemys genus is a species of freshwater turtle. Plymouth red-bellied turtles, with the scientific classification as Pseudemys rubriventris bangsi, were previously considered a subspecies of the Pseudemys genus. A large population of these turtles has been conserved exclusively in ponds and lakes of Plymouth County in Massachusetts state. However, after 1990, the Plymouth red-bellied turtles of the Massachusetts range were confirmed to be a disjunct population of the northern red-bellied cooters and their specific designation of subspecies became invalid. The species of Pseudemys rubriventris turtles residing in North America are also referred to as Plymouth red-bellied cooter. They occurred in 17 ponds across Massachusetts. These turtles were once very common in ponds and rivers of North America. Although they did not have a high population like other turtles in their local region, this species was found in modest numbers. However, their numbers began to decline with time. Keep on reading this content on the Plymouth red-bellied turtle to know more wonderful facts about the species.

For similar content check out these lava lizard facts and sand lizard facts too.

Fun Plymouth Red-bellied Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Crayfish, snails, tadpoles, and slugs

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

10 lb (4.5 kg)

How long are they?

10-12 in (25.4-30.4 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black or brown shell and black body

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss

What is their conservation status?

Near Threatened

Where you'll find them?

Streams, Lakes, And Rivers, Freshwater Ponds











Plymouth Red-Bellied Turtle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Plymouth red-bellied turtle?

The Plymouth red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys rubriventris bangsi) is a freshwater turtle.

What class of animal does a Plymouth red-bellied turtle belong to?

The species of Plymouth red-bellied turtles of Testudines order and Emydidae family belong to the class Reptilia.

How many Plymouth red-bellied turtles are there in the world?

The Plymouth red-bellied turtle population was priorly introduced in Massachusetts fresh water ponds to restore their numbers. In the '80s, the subspecies of Plymouth population was estimated to be between 200-300 species including the hatchlings and adults. In 1990, they were recognized as a similar species of the Pseudemys rubriventris rather than a subspecies. With time their population range gradually extended to other parts outside the state as well. By 2007, the population increased to around 400-600 adults in their habitat, throughout 20 ponds of the region.

Where does a Plymouth red-bellied turtle live?

This species of turtles range from the coastal waters of New Jersey in the north to North Carolina in the south.  A small number of turtles were also found in Long Island. An isolated population of the northern red-bellied cooter species was recorded only from Massachusetts, mainly in the ponds of Plymouth county like Long Pond, as well as in Carver and Essex counties.

What is a Plymouth red-bellied turtle's habitat?

The most preferred habitat of the red-bellied turtle species is freshwater streams and deep ponds. They are also found in large lakes, creeks, and marshes. The southern species are distributed in fast-flowing rivers that contain muddy or sandy substrate. Although the turtle hatchlings spend their young ages in slow-moving waters. This type of substrate is necessary for the turtles to nest as well as lay eggs. They require a large amount of vegetation in their habitat. Migratory behavior is absent in this species and they occupy the same habitat throughout the year.

Who do Plymouth red-bellied turtles live with?

Very little is known about the living habits of a Plymouth red-bellied turtle. In general, turtles prefer to spend their lives in solitude and can be seen with another one during mating. These sunbathing turtles are sometimes seen to aggregate together on logs and vegetation to bask in the sun during the day. In captivity, if more than one turtle is kept together it might show aggressiveness and harass its partner.

How long does a Plymouth red-bellied turtle live?

The average lifespan of all the species included under the genus Pseudemys has an average lifespan of 40-55 years of age. The males reach sexual maturity when they are nine years old while the females mature two years after the males.

How do they reproduce?

The elaborate details of the life cycle of the red-bellied turtles are absent. Females are observed to perform nest-building activities between June and July. Most of the Pseudemys rubriventris species reproduction methods are deduced by studying another related species called Pseudemys concinna. Females release pheromones in the water to attract males towards them. The male swims in front and above the female holding her with the claws. Mating occurs only after the females are ready. The female lays around 10-20 eggs in a single clutch. The hatchlings emerge from the eggs after an incubation period of 73-80 days around late August to October. The parents do not take any care of the hatchlings and they grow up on their own. They stay in the nest throughout the winter.

What is their conservation status?

The species Pseudemys rubriventris or the northern red-bellied cooter has been classified as a Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List. However, the disjunctive Massachusetts population of Plymouth red-bellied cooter has not been separately included in the Red List. These turtles have been declared as endangered throughout the range by the Endangered Species Act or the ESA. The Massasoit National Wildlife Refuge has been trying to conserve and repopulate these species since this declaration. Many heads start programs have been introduced to help in the recovery of the species following the initiative of the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program in 1985.

Plymouth Red-Bellied Turtle Fun Facts

What do Plymouth Red-Bellied Turtles look like?

The Plymouth red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys rubriventris bangsi) is a medium-sized turtle that gets its name from the red-colored plastron or undershell of the body. The carapace or the top shell varies from mahogany to black with flat lightly marked scutes. The turtle has red or chestnut bars on each scute along the margins. The plastrons of the adult male turtles look slightly pinkish while the females have coral red plastrons with grey rims. A small arrow-shaped emerges from the front with yellow or ivory colored lines extending from the eyes to the snout both in the adults and the hatchlings. The head, limbs, neck, and tail are all black in color. The shell is shorter in a male than the female but they have longer tails and claws on the front limb. Juveniles have a green body color until they turn two. With age, they become darker in color. The carapace of the young turtles is light green in color with orange bands.

*Please note that this is an image of a Florida red-bellied turtle, a similar species of Plymouth red-bellied turtle. If you have an image of a Plymouth red-bellied turtle please let us know at [email protected]

Florida Red-bellied Turtle

*Please note that this is an image of a Florida red-bellied turtle, a similar species of Plymouth red-bellied turtle. If you have an image of a Plymouth red-bellied turtle please let us know at [email protected]

How cute are they?

The beady eyes of the turtle make them look very cute and the bright undershell attracts a lot of people towards it.

How do they communicate?

The communicative methods of a Pseudemys rubriventris bangsi are not known. While basking in the sun, they sit on top of one another. By studying the reproductive activities of another species of the Pseudemys genus it is seen that the animals of this genus emit pheromones to convey readiness to mate.

How big is a Plymouth red-bellied turtle?

The length of the Plymouth red-bellied turtle ranges between 10-12 in (25.4-30.4 cm). They are around seven times smaller in size than the leatherback sea turtles. In comparison, the Florida red-bellied turtle is almost as big as the Plymouth red-bellied turtle at 9.8 in (25 cm).

How fast can a Plymouth red-bellied turtle move?

A turtle is a slow and sluggish mover. The exact speed of the Plymouth red-bellied turtle has not been determined.

How much does a Plymouth red-bellied turtle weigh?

The average weight of a Plymouth red-bellied turtle is 10 lb (4.5 kg), making them around ten times smaller in size than a softshell turtle.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and the female species do not have any specific names. Both of them are called turtles.

What would you call a baby Plymouth red-bellied turtle?

Juvenile turtles are called hatchlings.

What do they eat?

Adult turtles are herbivores in nature feeding only on aquatic plants however the diet of the juvenile consists of crayfish, snails, tadpoles, and slugs.

Are they poisonous?

No, the Plymouth red-bellied turtle is not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Red-bellied turtles are famous turtles, being low-maintenance pets throughout their range and possessing no harm to small children. Some special maintenance needs must be followed before keeping them as pets. Their friendly nature makes them a favorite choice for many turtle owners although keeping multiple species together as a pet might result in aggression.  

Did you know...

They are a highly shy species. When approached they move into their shell or underground swiftly.

Why is the red-bellied turtle endangered?

The red-bellied turtle faces two types of threats, one is their habitat alterations and the other is a threat by invasive species. They are also taken in as pets by many households as a result their numbers have greatly decreased in the wild. The open basking sites of ponds are gradually decreasing as more and more buildings and roads are being formed. Predators like raccoons, widemouth bass, and skunks also play an active role in reducing their number. All these causes have left this species of turtles highly endangered.

Painted turtle vs. red-bellied turtle

The painted turtle and a red-bellied turtle look a lot like each other. They can be distinguished by the differences in their size and certain differences in their color pattern from each other.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these bog turtle facts and frilled lizard facts for kids.  

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable plymouth red bellied turtle coloring pages.

*This is not of the Plymouth red-bellied turtle, but of the Florida red-bellied cooter of the same genus. If you have an image of a Plymouth Red-Bellied Turtle please let us know at [email protected]

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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