Freshwater Turtles

Photo of Freshwater Turtles

Fresh Water Turtles at The Belize Zoo


  • Mesoamerican Slider (Bocotora): Known for its green to brown shell with orange circles, often found in Belize’s freshwater bodies, feeding on vegetation and small prey.
  • Red-eared Slider: An invasive species from the southeastern USA, identified by its red stripe. Competes with natives and should never be released into the wild.
  • Central American River Turtle (Hicatee): Belize’s largest freshwater turtle, nocturnal, feeding on plants and fruits, but critically endangered due to overhunting.
  • Mexican Giant Musk Turtle: Recognized by its greenish-brown shell with raised ridges, a horned spine, and a strong bite, found in various aquatic environments.

Fun Facts

  • The Central American River Turtle, or Hicatee, holds the title of being Belize’s largest freshwater turtle, sometimes weighing over 25 lbs and living for more than 40 years.
  • Red-eared Sliders, though visually striking with their red stripes, are invasive in Belize, posing threats to native turtles through resource competition and disease transmission.
  • The Mexican Giant Musk Turtle is renowned for its powerful bite and adaptability, thriving in diverse aquatic environments.