Eastern River Cooter
A medium-sized aquatic turtle with a broad shell and numerous stripes on the head, which is blunt and proportionately small compared to the shell. The upper shell is olive brown, brown, or nearly black, with numerous concentric yellow lines or markings. The lower shell is either plain yellow or may have some faint gray-brown markings along the scute seams, especially in the forward section. The head and limbs are normally olive brown or black with many yellow lines.
Similar species: The Mississippi Lowlands of southeastern Missouri is a zone where the ranges of several subspecies of river cooter overlap and interbreed, causing much variation in physical characteristics there. The similar-looking red-eared slider is distinguished by the red head stripe behind each eye, and by the lower shell, which is boldly marked with a dark brown smudge in each scute.