Native to most of Florida and southeastern Georgia. Introduced populations are established in Texas and the British Virgin Islands. Due to excessive use in the pet and food trades, escaped individuals have been reported in other places such as California, parts of Europe, and South Korea.
Aquatic species that can be found in and around various bodies of slow-moving fresh or brackish water with dense growth of aquatic vegetation. They sometimes nest within American alligator nests.
This species of turtle has a relatively high-domed shell with a dark, minimally patterned carapace, and starts out with a red plastron that fades to yellow in adults. They reach 25-30 cm in length, with males being smaller than females. Their skin is black with thin yellow lines spaced far apart. The first 3 rows of costal scutes on their carapace have red or yellow streaks with faded edges.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians