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|Identification: Shell hard, often with
attached mud or algae; rear edge of upper shell saw-toothed; tail as long
as or longer than upper shell, with crest of large bony scales; head
large, with hooked jaws; lower shell relatively small, composed of nine
shields; limbs strong, with webbed toes and powerful claws; upper shell up
to nearly 50 cm (20 inches) long, usually less than 36 cm (14
Adult: upper shell relatively smooth, lengthwise ridges not very prominent.
Mature male: anal opening farther from base of tail than in female, usually beyond rear edge of upper shell (under rear edge in female); grows larger than female.
|Juvenile: Upper shell with three longitudinal ridges.|
Hatchling: Upper shell rough, with conspicuous ridges, cryptically resembling a dead cottonwood leaf.
Lowlands of eastern Colorado.
Habitat: Usually in permanent streams, ponds,
lakes, and reservoirs; sometimes in temporary ponds and pools along intermittent
Nests in open areas up to several
hundred yards from water, often after soaking rains soften the soil, mostly from
late May to early July (peak in June). Hatchlings generally emerge from nests in
late summer and early fall.
This turtle has strong jaws that can inflict a painful, lacerating