Monday, October 10, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different...

This is a turtle post.


This little turtle came up with a gooey pile of Chara algae that I had pulled out of my pond. I haven't bothered to exactly ID him yet, because I don't have to do so to enjoy him. I took pics from several angles for that purpose. I'll get around to it.

Never let nerdiness get in the way of enjoying a baby turtle or any other thing.

So, in a common name sort of way, this cute little greenie is a cooter, slider, streaky neck, or chicken turtle. Take your pick...or make up your own. I like slider as a catchall term for the many species of freshwater turtles that frequent lakes and streams. They often sun on rocks and logs, sliding off with a "ploop" when approached.

The green is juvenile camo adaptation to give the young a better chance of avoiding predators such as bass, gators, herons, egrets, coons, snakes, etc. As he gets bigger, the green will fade to brown top and light bottom. This is another form of protective coloration known as counter-shading.

These turtles love to sun and will actually stack up in a Yertle The Turtle sort of way. Apparently they managed a successful nest on the banks of my pond this year since this guy is a hatchling.

They used to sell these in every department store when I was a kid. For a buck or two, you got a plastic turtle dish, with a plastic island complete with plastic palm tree...and a tiny green turtle.

Then kids started getting sick with salmonella and the baby slider market nose-dived.

My brother had a baby turtle that he carried in his jean pockets. (I know... you'll have to ask him why). Anyway, my mom washed his jeans with the turtle inside the pockets. What was she thinking? Doesn't every mom check their kids pants for turtles?

When the wash finished the spin-dry cycle, there was the turtle. Alive and well. Except for one thing. His equilibrium was a little messed up from "Mr. Turtles Wild Ride" in the washing machine. He wouldn't stay right side up. When you set him down...FLIP! Over on his back. Set him back up again. FLIP! Over again with legs in the air.

Eventually he recovered.

So did my Mom... soon as we grew up and moved out.

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pablo said...

Okay, just watch. This comment will post and stay online. That's because I have nothing intelligent to say.

Floridacracker said...

At least your not anonymous.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

I have nothing intelligent to say either, but that never stops me from commenting!
The turtle in the pants pocket is a great story. We had one of those green turtles with the plastic dish, island, and palm tree too. All I remember about that poor turtle is how soft its shell became shortly before it died. I don't think it liked its plastic environment.

Floridacracker said...

I think they neglected to tell us how important sunshine exposure and the right diet was for turtle health. I think most of those little guys died of softshell or foul water problems. Most little kids aren't zealous about changing the water in those little turtleariums. I know I wasn't.

roger said...

is that the same turtle as the one in the previous post? he's a well-rounded fellow.

i recall a turtle or two in my childhood. i did enjoy the snakes i captured myself more tho. kept a gopher snake alive for several years. force feeding. now i enjoy the snakes, and all wildlife, on their own turf and terms.

i'm guessing that your mom checked pockets after that incident.

Laura said...

Good to hear Pablo is in a non-anonymous mode again. ;)
I'm amazed the little guy survived the washing machine ride!
I had a cat that survived a quick ride in the dryer, but that's another story.

by the way, hat looks like a red slider turtle that a stranger dropped in our pond one day. He was about the same size as the one in your picture when we found him. He's now about 4" diameter..(I think). It's hard to catch him because as soon as we walk up, he slips into the water again.

I was debating on whether or not to keep him because of the risk of salmonella or Ecoli.

Floridacracker said...

Same turtle. I like to get maximum mileage out of my turtles. I like 'em on their terms too these days. Short visits and back they go.

Cat in the dryer...ouch! I think the big germ problem with turtles was more of a little kid-handle the turtle-hands in the mouth kind of thing. Your slider in the pond should not be a big risk since nobody's handling him.

Wayne said...

I had a baby turtle in a plastic tray with plastic palm, just like that. I also kept a tadpole in there so the turtle wouldn't get lonely. Something about the conditions must have prevented metamorphosis; the tadpole just kept getting bigger and bigger but never turned into a frog.

My mother was much more canny; she mined our pockets avidly and kept any loose change she'd found. Then she'd crow about it. If I'd have had my wits about me I would have played little jokes on her that way.

Floridacracker said...

My daughter the "laundress" has a jar for all monies collected from our pockets. So far no turtles have shown up.

Hick said...

Pick me! Pick me! I had a turtle, too. I finally let him go in a stream. I guess maybe he's dead by now. If only I had thought to put him in the dryer instead.

Rebel POW said...

I took a pair of turtles ("Pete" and "Repeat") complete with the plastic tank and palm tree back to Stetson with me my Sophmore year.

But they flunked out of Statistics and I released them into the Santa Fe during Spring Break.

Floridacracker said...

If you had put him in the dryer I think he' definitely be dead now.

Turtles are notoriously bad at statistics. Most of them major in Leisure Studies.

Weary Hag said...

Oh how adorable. He looks like the little guys we used to win at church fairs when I was a kid. Every time the bazaar rolled around, we'd clear the spot on top of our upright piano because we just knew one of us was bringing home a turtle. They always looked JUST like this little guy.

We had some turtle babies hatch down at the edge of our pond this summer. Didn't get to see it happen; just went out to find five little holes dug up right in the vicinity of where we watched "mama" lay her eggs.

Great stuff.

Floridacracker said...

I think we all have a turtle in our background...literally.

Magrat1978 said...

and more about freshwater turtles