The painted turtle is the most common turtle at our local reserve although they share the waterways with snapping turtles and the rarer blanding’s turtle. I’ll be looking for all three when the weather warms up.
This is a young snapping turtle, mature snapping turtles are much larger and even less good looking 😏. I was standing on a viewing platform and just happened to glance down when the turtle swam silently by.
With its algae covered back, you have to be lucky to spot a snapping turtle swimming through a murky pond. I didn’t have a polarizing filter so the photo might have been sharper but I managed to get a decent shot. I think this turtle was quite young as it wasn’t as large as some I’ve seen. Not the prettiest kid on the block but certainly one of the more interesting.
This lake has a fair number of resident turtles. As I scanned the water for birds, I noticed a painted turtle enjoying a swim. Now it and its mates are buried deep in the mud, hibernating until spring.
Painted turtles always look grumpy. In doing a bit of reading, I’ve discovered that they are a species of Special Concern here in Ontario. Cars and habitat loss are their main threats. Painted turtles are also slow to mature and only lay a small clutch of eggs. If just a few die the whole turtle population can be impacted. I now see why they look so grumpy.
The snapping turtle surfaced from the murky water as I stood on a viewing platform. I thought it was quite young given its size but with all the algae on its shell I’m not so sure. This small lake has three kinds of turtles, the snapper growing the largest. After a long winter of hibernation deep in the mud, we’ll see them again when the ice melts in spring.
I was scanning the river for birds when I noticed this very large painted turtle on the edge of a boulder. I kept expecting it to slip into the water but it continued to balance like this for all the time I was there. Although not endangered or threatened, its status is of “Special Concern” as it may become so. That said we haven’t had as many sightings as usual this summer; I do look forward to seeing them every year.
These painted turtles look pretty put out. In other reserves where the turtles tend to dive for cover when you approach, these turtles stay put and glare. Like frogs they blend in well to their surroundings. On a windless day if I see duckweed floating on the surface of the water, chances are a turtle underneath it is propelling it along.
I always associate painted turtles with lazy summer afternoons. They are either basking in the sun or going for a quiet swim. You feel yourself slowing down in their company. No better way than that to enjoy summer!
Snapping turtles and painted turtles are the most common turtles at the reserve. We usually see them, often together, sunning themselves on logs in the water. I captured these two when they were swimming. They move silently through the water and blend in so well, that it’s only when they come up for air that you see them. The snapper isn’t fully grown but it’s mature enough to have quite a growth of moss on its back which acts as excellent camouflage. They have a prehistoric look, with their long tale and spikes. Not pretty but fascinating to observe.