A Slider out for a Stroll

Top Photo: Yellow-bellied slider retreats into shell after being discover on path.

Male yellow-bellied slider (12/26/15).
Male yellow-bellied slider (12/26/15).


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 past weekend. But, I was still surprised when I got a call on my radio that Ranger Rock had spotted a turtle alongside one of our service roads here at the Museum.

I rushed over and sure enough, there was a male yellow-bellied slider sitting in the pine needles and leaf liter on the edge of the unimproved track.


Animal Keeper Katie is delighted to see the little male slider.
Animal Keeper Katie is delighted to see the little male slider.


We don’t often see these turtles walking about the landscape, except during nesting season in spring and summer when the females come ashore to lay eggs. Even then, it’s not common to see a male out and about.

What was this little male doing? There’s a stream about twenty some feet below the spot the turtle was seen. Our wetlands drains into this stream, actually creating the stream by doing so. It later flows into Ellerbe Creek, eventually emptying into Falls Lake. The turtle was coming from the stream when spotted.

The turtle seemed to be headed for our Wetlands. I gave it a lift, carrying it to the water which was several more gullies and ridges away. Whatever its reason for relocating, I hope it does well in our little wetland.

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