The river cooter is a fairly large turtle (up to 12 inches) often observed basking on rocks and logs along the banks or in rivers. The olive or brown carapace is slightly flared posteriorly and often highlighted with lighter markings. On the river cooter, a light, backward-facing C-shaped mark on the second scute on each side of the carapace can be used to distinguish it from the Florida cooter turtle. The underside of some marginals are marked by doughnut-shaped dark spots with light centers. The plastron and bridge have dark markings, particularly along the seams between scutes. The head and neck have numerous yellow "hairpin" stripes. The postorbital stripe is not as broad as in the slider turtle, with which it might be confused. Males have straight, elongated foreclaws. Female river cooters lay about 20 eggs in May to June. This species is predominantly herbivorous.