Wednesday, April 16, 2008
What is Your Favorite Animal?
I absolutely love turtles, and have since I was very young. I have two very early memories- watching painted turtles with my grandfather at the Seiberling Naturerealm in Akron, Ohio, and of my first pet turtle, which my parents found crossing the street in Silver Lake, Ohio. Fortunately, the midland painted turtle, Chrysemys picta marginata is a hardy species and can be seen in almost any slow moving body of water in Ohio. Our retention ponds and wildlife area at our office supports a healthy, reproducing population. The little guy above is about the size of a 50 cent piece! And about keeping them for pets- I don't recommend it- even though they aren't rare, they are still fall under the Division of Wildlife guidelines-you must register any native pet reptile or amphibian with the DOW.
There are several age classes on the campus, and the ponds seem to be filled with more and more turtles each year. I wonder how they got here? Did an employee release a few and the population has exploded?
There are even big, old turtles, such as this one floating in the water. As they age, the coloration dulls.
Painted turtles shed the outer covering of their scutes, which is made out of a finger nail like substance. You can see the outer covering of the shell peeling away. Shedding the very top layer of the shell each year also helps them get rid of any algae or other gunk that may be growing on their shells. This turtle's scute covering seems to be flaking away rather than peeling away in one piece.
So there you go, since I have such fond memories of painted turtles, and I'm a turtle fanatic in general (I recently started a turtle and tortoise video blog), I'm going to have to say they are my favorite species on the planet. What is yours?