Saturday was a beautiful warm day here after days of gray skies and cold temperatures and the turtles were out in full force taking in the sun. Turtles are reptiles and actually need the vitamins from the sunshine to stay healthy. This is why people who keep lizards, snakes and turtles indoors need special lighting. And yes, being ectothermic (cold blooded) they also appreciate the warmth.
At first view this just looks like an idyllic pond scene. Click on the picture to enlarge it and you’ll see there are dozens of painted turtles in this photo. Some are on the green boggy area while others are on the log in the background.
Here’s a nice close up of a group of painted turtles, very alert as I took their picture. I used my zoom lens so as not to alarm them. Turtles can slip into the water faster than you can say boo.
This little guy was all by himself near the edge of the pond and was only about 2″ long.
This sight really caught our attention. The yellow you see in the center is a painted turtle and a good sized painted turtle at that. So who is that big turtle behind it? A huge snapping turtle! This is an unusual picture for snapping turtles usually hang out in the water except when laying eggs. They sun themselves while floating at the surface of the water and can often be seen doing so by folks out in kayaks and canoes.
Here’s a view from the backside. You can see that gnarly tail and hind legs just hanging out in the sun.
These are the most common turtles on the Cape but we have other turtles here as well….can you name them?
photos taken by me in Bourne on May 14
Painted turtles are probably our most common turtle on Cape Cod. They certainly are the easiest to find and see. On warm afternoons some areas have spots where over a hundred turtles may be seen basking in the sun together.Have you seen a turtle yet this spring on the Cape? Watch for them in fresh water ponds or lakes along the shore. They love to rest on small tussocks of dirt and vegetation such as this or on half submerged logs where they can easily slip into the water if danger approaches. Soon you will see turtles of all kinds traveling about looking for mates so keep your eyes open!
We have several other fresh water turtles that live on the Cape. Can you name them all?
The turtles are a bit late laying their eggs this year but those that waited may have more successful nests than those that answered nature’s call and laid eggs during the horrid cold, wet weather. Turtle eggs can rot and attract parasites, especially in the damp….
I saw several painted turtles last week while they were laying eggs. Painted turtles are very common on Cape Cod and can be found in almost every pond and bog in every town. All turtles lay their eggs on land, whether they are sea turtles, pond turtles or land turtles like box turtles. Usually they lay their eggs in June but this has been an unusual year here.
This lovely lady was none too pleased about being picked up. She was done laying her eggs and heading back to the pond she came from. Even if you don’t see them laying eggs female turtles generally have short tails, long claws on their back feet for digging and a flat bottom. The males have longer tails and have a concave spot on the bottom, both of which are handy for mating.
This is a different female across the Cape but similarly occupied on the same day. She is filling up the hole she has deposited her eggs in and was more or less oblivious to me as I took her picture. I didn’t touch her or pick her up and left very quickly after taking these shots so I didn’t interrupt her.
This is another shot of her pushing that dirt back in the hole.