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Posts Tagged ‘red-eared slider turtle’

What is your first thought when you see these three turtles together? Are they just friends or more than friends? The turtles seem to be pretty comfortable sharing a confined space and there is plenty of space in our minds for varied interpretations on the nature of their relationship. According to the old saying, “two’s a couple and three’s a crowd”—is that always true?

Whatever the case, the turtles at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge have been definitely been enjoying our recent sunny days. My turtle identification skills are not very good, but I think these all may be Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta), though there is a chance that they might be Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans).

I love images like this one that allow viewers to use their creativity to interpret what they see and to generate in their minds their own mini-narrative of what is going on. Ménage à trois or just friends—you make the call.

red-eared sliders

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The temperature today feels so frigid—right about the freezing level—that it is hard to remember that only this past Monday it was sunny and 60 degrees (16 degrees C). While I was enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I photographed these sunning turtles, a relatively rare sight in December.

I did not get a good enough view of the turtles to be able to identify them with any confidence, but I think they may be Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta) or possibly Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans).

Turtles in December

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I made a quick trip to Huntley Meadows Park on Christmas Day to see what creatures were stirring and was surprised to see some turtles had surfaced to bask in the sun. The flash of red on this Red-eared Slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) made its colors seasonally appropriate and it did seem to have sandy claws.

Red-eared Slider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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All of nature seems to be speeding up as we move deeper into spring. Even the turtles seem to be moving faster, like this Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) that I spotted recently at a county-run historical garden.

Initially the turtle was swimming around in a small pond (as shown in the second shot). I was pleased that I was able to capture a shot of the turtle as it was emerged from the water onto the shore.

I had my 180mm macro lens on my camera when I caught sight of the turtle and I was reminded of the need to zoom with my feet when using a lens with a fixed focal length. In my zeal to get a bit closer to the turtle, I narrowly avoided sliding down the bank into the water.

slider1_blogslider2_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The temperatures this past weekend soared past 60 degrees (16 degrees C), bringing the turtles up from the mud on the bottom of the ponds at my local marsh. Most of the turtles crowded together on the log in the first shot appear to be Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta), but I think I detect at least one Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans).

Not all of turtles, however, wanted to bask in the sun in a communal environment. The second image shows a turtle that managed to find its own log and was enjoying a few moments of contemplative solitude.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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When the family of Red-eared Slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) adopted an orphaned turtle, they had no idea that the baby would grow so big. Despite his disproportionate size, the larger turtle, an Eastern Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina serpentina), likes to participate in all family activities and doesn’t seem to realize that he is different from the other members of his adopted family.

I chose a natural setting for this family portrait and managed to catch almost everyone in a good pose—unfortunately, one of them had an attitude and refused to look directly at the camera and smile. Most of us have similar informal family portraits with the same problem. I don’t know how professional portrait photographers get everyone to cooperate.

co-existence_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Yesterday, when an Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina serpentina) crawled onto a floating log, where a much smaller Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) was already basking in the sun, it looked like there might be a showdown.

The two faced off, staring at each other. Despite the size difference, the small turtle did not appear to be intimidated and refused to back off at all. Eventually they both relaxed and decided that peaceful co-existence was the best option.

It turned out that both the log and the sun were big enough to share.

turtles_blog

Click on the photo to see a higher resolution view.

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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