Over the past three weeks I’ve come across 13 juvenile Yellow-bellied Turtles. I’ve either spotted them myself at known nest sites or Museum guests and staff have spied them, and in some cases, brought them to me after finding the little herps wandering around the campus.
Who knows how many of the turtles have gone unseen while making their way to the Wetlands here at the Museum. How many of the turtles wander off in the wrong direction, away from water and end up on a neighborhood street. How many of them get preyed upon by snakes, fox, and birds. Even if they make it to the Wetlands, they’re suseptable to predation by water snakes, herons, and snapping turtles.
On the bright side, I personnally know of at least twelve of the tiny turtle that have made it to the Wetlands. They were either released by me or someone else here at the Museum. I’ve already seen some of them out basking. While there’s no way of knowing whether the ones that I’ve seen are in fact turtles that I, we, have released, I’d like to think they are. Or, if not, it’s good to see that some of them have indeed made it to the water on their own.
That reminds me, it’s May, any day now the adult turtles of our Wetlands will be up and out of the water digging nests, laying eggs, making more tiny turtles for us to watch for later this fall and next spring!
Greg Dodge is a professional naturalist as well as a writer, videographer and producer of natural history DVDs. His images have been used in various TV productions, museum displays, and corporate videos. Above all, he has a fascination and passion for all things natural.
He can be found Tuesday thru Saturday in Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, or on the Dinosaur Trail. Ask him what’s new in the wild!