Alabama Designates Official State Reptile
Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Red-bellied Turtle, scientifically known as Pseudemys alabamensis, has been officially recognized as the state reptile of Alabama. This designation comes as a tribute to the unique wildlife that inhabits the state and underscores the importance of conservation efforts for native species.
The Alabama Red-bellied Turtle, which is endemic to the state, primarily resides in the Mobile Delta region. It is characterized by its distinctive red plastron, the lower part of its shell, which contrasts with the darker carapace, the upper shell. This freshwater turtle can grow up to 12 inches in length and is known for its docile nature.
Legislation was passed by the Alabama State Legislature and signed into law by the governor, acknowledging the turtle’s significance to the state’s natural heritage. Environmental groups have praised the move, highlighting the educational and ecological benefits of such recognition.
Efforts to Protect the Alabama Red-bellied Turtle
Conservationists are hopeful that the state reptile status will bring attention to the turtle’s habitat, which is threatened by pollution, development, and invasive species. The Alabama Red-bellied Turtle is listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, making it a priority for conservation initiatives.
The official recognition of the Alabama Red-bellied Turtle as the state reptile is a step forward in raising awareness about the species and the environmental challenges it faces. It serves as a reminder of the rich biodiversity within Alabama and the ongoing efforts required to preserve it for future generations.
Q: When was the Alabama Red-bellied Turtle designated as the state reptile?
A: The designation date varies by source, but it was officially recognized in the early 1990s.
Q: Why is the Alabama Red-bellied Turtle threatened?
A: The main threats include habitat destruction, water pollution, and competition from non-native species.
Q: Can the public see the Alabama Red-bellied Turtle in the wild?
A: Yes, the turtle can be observed in its natural habitat, though it is important to respect wildlife and conservation efforts while doing so.
Endemic: Native to a particular area or environment and not found naturally anywhere else.
Plastron: The nearly flat part of the shell structure of a turtle, what one would call the belly, which is the ventral part of the shell.
Carapace: The convex upper shell of a turtle or tortoise, which covers the animal’s back.
Conservation: The protection and preservation of the natural environment and wildlife.