EEC Home Find an endangered species Browse the endangered species list
Plymouth Red-bellied Turtle
Plymouth Red-bellied Turtle
Mary Hollinger, NOAA

Need more Plymouth Red-bellied Turtle facts?

Featured Creature
Creature Feature: Whale Shark Whale Shark
Although whale sharks are massive, they are generally docile and inoffensive to humans. Whale sharks are even sometimes nice enough to let human swimmers hitch a ride. Learn more about the Whale Shark.
Join the Featured Creature Mailing List

Would you like to receive a notice and link when the new Creature Feature is posted? Enter your e-mail address below:
HTML   Text-only
Privacy Policy

Plymouth Red-bellied Turtle  TURTLE

Scientific Name:
Pseudemys rubriventris bangsi

Other Names and/or Listed subspecies:
Plymouth Red-belly Turtle, Chrysemys rubriventris

Group: Reptiles

Status/Date Listed as Endangered:
EN-US FWS: April 2, 1980

Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:

The Plymouth red-bellied turtle is believed to be a subspecies of the Eastern red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys rubriventris). Some biologists argue that the subspecies only exists because of a taxonomic error, and that the Plymouth red-bellied turtle is only an isolated population of the Eastern red-bellied turtle. Nevertheless, the subspecies is classified as endangered throughout its entire range in Massachusetts. The Eastern red-bellied turtle is a shy pond turtle species. Adults grow from 10 to 15 inches in length. Their carapaces are brown to black with flat scutes. Their heads are arrow-like in shape with stripes that run between the eyes and to the nose. The plastron (undershell) is reddish in color, giving the red-bellied turtle its name. Males have long claws on their front feet.

Eastern red-bellied turtles can be found in deep ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. They can often be found basking not too far from the water. Diet consists of snails, slugs, crayfish, tadpoles, and aquatic plants. Mating occurs in the spring, and nesting from June to July. Females lay from 8 to 20 eggs, and the hatchlings emerge 10 to 15 weeks later. The young turtles sometimes remain in the nest throughout the winter.

In Massachusetts, these turtles are said to be very vulnerable (as eggs and young turtles) to predation by skunks, raccoons, birds, and fish, and the population was reduced to 200 to 300 turtles in the 1980s. Conservation efforts include preservation of the turtles habitat and protection of the nests. There are also several head start programs in place in Massachusetts to help raise hatchlings until they are able to survive on their own.

Plymouth Red-bellied Turtle Facts Last Updated: January 1, 2006

To Cite This Page:
Glenn, C. R. 2006. "Earth's Endangered Creatures - Plymouth Red-bellied Turtle Facts" (Online).
Accessed 5/30/2016 at


© 2006-2017 Earth's Endangered Creatures
About EEC   |   Contact Us   |   Disclaimer   |   How to Cite this Page   |   Conditions of Use    |   Privacy/Advertisements    |   Site Map