Reptiles

Turtling Around

It is so nice to take life at a slower rate when we are at the cottage and just turtle around. We do work hard while we are there, but we also take time to slow down and just enjoy. The rat race doesn’t come with us when we are there and time is our own to do with as we please. I think that the lack of time pressure is what has allowed me to really take note of what is around us. I notice things that I wouldn’t have paid attention to in the past and discover new things that I find so interesting. That said I am still working on getting my husband to “happily” stop the car when something interesting catches my eye!

Even though it was pouring with rain, he did stop the car when we spotted this Blanding’s Turtle. I didn’t get out in the rain to take the picture, so it isn’t the greatest! I am now halfway with my quest to find all eight species of turtles in Ontario.

DSC_1961Blanding's Turtle.jpg

I was pleased to see one of these turtles because they are on the threatened list of species at risk in Ontario. It was a little way from water, so it was possibly searching for a mate or traveling to a nesting site. I was sad that I couldn’t see its face because apparently they always look like they have a smile on their face and I would have liked to have seen that.

These are very long-lived species and can live to be 80 years old! Females don’t mature until they are 14-20 years old. One neat feature these turtles have, that other Ontario turtles don’t have, is that their bottom shell is hinged. Some Blanding’s Turtles can almost completely close their shell after pulling in their head and feet. Another interesting thing about turtles is that they do not appear to age once they have reached adulthood. Having said that, the markings on a Blanding’s Turtle tend to get smaller and may fade altogether as the turtle ages. This one seems to have less prominent yellow spots, so I am guessing it is an older turtle.

DSC_1767turtle.jpg

We haven’t seen as many turtles this year as we did last year. We have only seen the Northern Map Turtle sunning on a rock when we have been out in the canoe. Last year we often saw turtles sunning themselves on rocks, but perhaps our timing is such that we keep missing them.

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