Hatchling Rio Grand Cooters are born with spectacular colors, they have very detailed, ornate patterns and they are so pretty that some turtle biologists even refer to them as “painted jewels”. As with most Cooters they do darken some as they mature, but their colors always stand out with red/orange marginal (outer) scutes, and striking green, yellow and black carapace (top shell) patterns. Their bellies stay bright yellow with impressive orange ringed edges – making every aquarium ascent visible from across the room.
One of the smallest of the Cooters, they’re overly friendly, they quickly recognize their keepers, and they very actively brighten every tank or pond they swim in. Often referred to simply as Gorzugi, they were only recently given their own species status. Gorzugi are found in several Texas river systems as well as in neighboring water ways in New Mexico, and there are even a few scattered populations in Mexico.
Mainly vegetarians, ours love pellets and greens and get along with nearly all other species. They’re very durable, and don’t mind milder winters in Southern garden ponds once older. Increasingly rare, and protected throughout their natural range, a hand full of breeders successfully work with this very colorful species – and now so can you. . .