Turtles in Winter

While most species of aquatic turtles are inactive, tucked-away on the bottom of a pond in the leaf litter and mud, our resident sliders tend to become active throughout the colder months. All it takes is a few bright sunny days. Among the local turtles, yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders, eastern painted turtle, common musk turtle, and common snapping turtle, it’s the sliders that are most often seen out basking in late fall and winter. The water is shallow in ourRead more

Potter Wasps, Glow Worms, and A Well Balanced Turtle

I noticed an odd growth on one of our juvenile leptoceratops on the Dino Trail. The growth was located just before the eye. Since our dinosaurs are not actually alive I reasoned the growth to be of “outside” origin, not arising from the dinosaur itself. In fact, I knew right away what it was. A tiny black and white wasp had built this equally tiny clay pot to protect its young within while it hatches from its egg, eats and grows throughRead more

Basking in the Rain

It was warm for the first week of February. Spring peepers and chorus frogs were calling and yellow-bellied sliders were out basking. There was very little sun, but the turtles were out just the same, occupying nearly every log, rock, or shoreline of the Wetlands. Somewhere around 3 PM the sky opened up and rain came pouring down. Chip, the turtle pictured above, wasn’t bothered by rain. In fact, she seemed to enjoy it. After all, she’s an aquatic turtle. If you’reRead more

A Slider out for a Stroll

  I sometimes mention in the blog, the fact that any sunny and relatively warm day during winter, we at the Museum are likely to see turtles out basking on the rocks and stumps in our wetlands. Yellow-bellied sliders seem to come out of their slumber on the bottom of the pond quite easily, a warm day or two is all it takes. We’ve had many unusually warm days this December. In fact, it was in the mid-seventies this pastRead more

Laying Eggs

Alerted to its presence by Dale (Facilities), I took a detour in my weekly bluebird nest box inspection Tuesday and hightailed it up to the summer camp outdoor classrooms to see if the yellow-bellied slider he reported was still there. Dale said that she was in the middle of laying eggs and I wanted to first, see who she was (I mark the nesting turtles here at the Museum), and then confirm she was indeed laying eggs. When I arrived, theRead more

Painted Turtle Nest

Thanks to the vigilance of Animal Keeper Sarah, with an assist from Keeper Kent, we now have a turtle’s nest to monitor. On June 21, Keeper Sarah spotted an eastern painted turtle laying eggs next to the gravel driveway that leads to the Red Wolf Enclosure.     I placed a cage over the nest site to keep predators, such as raccoons, from digging up and eating the eggs. There are numerous sites throughout our campus where turtles have depositedRead more

A nice day to be out in the Wetlands

  With daytime air temps reaching fifty-nine degrees on Wednesday (12/17), at least one of our resident turtles made it out for a little sunbathing. A male yellow-bellied slider was awakened by the intense sunshine of the day. The sun’s warm penetrating rays apparently reaching and warming the bottom of the pond sufficiently to stimulate the turtle into crawling out on a log and bask away the afternoon.     It’s in no way unusual to see a turtle outRead more

288 Days Later!

As I walked past the northeast corner of the Wetlands, the area near the Red Wolf Enclosure, I noticed a small hole in the ground a foot or so off the path. I pass this area numerous times during a typical day and I always look down at this same spot. Why? Because last June a Yellow-bellied Slider that I’m familiar with was seen laying eggs on this very bit of landscape. As some of you know, I catch andRead more

Chasing Turtles

I’ve been watching turtles here at the Museum since my arrival some 6 years ago. We have about five species in our Wetlands: Yellow-bellied Slider, Red-eared Slider, Eastern Painted, Eastern Musk, and Common Snapping Turtles. You might be thinking, “Hey, what’s he talking about, you either have five species or you don’t,” and you’d be right. The reason I say about five species is because the red-eared is not native. I haven’t seen any adults that I can definitely call red-eared,Read more