|Karla R's photoblog|
Heron Haven 9 - turtles
Meanwhile, let's take a look at the turtles. The top image is another lagoon in this wetland. In the water at left upper left, do you see the silvery spot? That is sunlight reflecting off the wet shell of a common snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentine. Bottom image shows, obviously, a bunch of them basking on a log, but these are in the same lagoon as the geese! Habitat: shallow fresh water ponds, shallow lakes, or streams, preferably with muddy bottoms and vegetation for hatchlings to hide in. An adult carapace (upper shell) can be nearly 50 cm (20 in) long, though the more common size is 25 cm (9.8 in) or less. The shell is dark brown, olive, tan, or black, with lighter or darker markings. When the turtles are found in ponds, the shells usually are coated in algae. The underside (plastron) is cream or yellow, often with dark markings. In the wild, these reptiles can live 30 years.
Sharp claws and snapping are their defense---snappers cannot hide in their shells because the shells are too small and their heads are too large. In the water they are generally docile, although when bothered, they will attack. Snappers eat fish, insects, frogs, snakes, smaller turtles, birds, small mammals, and vegetation. They are important scavengers, especially of carrion. One source said that they have been used to hunt for dead bodies. People catch them for stews and soups.
Did you know that the Mock Turtle in Alice in Wonderland book is not a turtle? :-) Of course you did!
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