Sunday, May 19, 2013
When I first spied this turtle on a pondside path at Woods Hollow Nature Preserve today, I felt quite excited. Wow! A Map Turtle! I see Painteds and Snappers frequently, but I've only ever glimpsed a Map Turtle for a fleeting second a few years ago as it slipped off a log into the Hudson River. But my excitement soon turned to sadness, for this turtle was dead. Oh dear!
Oh well, at least I was able to get a really good look at the poor creature. The yellow stripes on the dark-olive skin are typical, as are the large patches of yellow behind the eyes. Not so evident in my photo is a raised ridge down the center of the shell, which is also diagnostic for Map Turtles. The map-like lines on its shell that inspired this turtle's common name are unfortunately obscured by a whitish film.
The turtle's underside was quite colorful, with black paintbrush swatches on rosy-pink plates trimmed with yellow.
I don't have any idea what might have killed this turtle. It also seemed odd to find it in the middle of a path. Any theories?
Update: Be sure to check the comments to this post to read several opinions about the fate of this turtle. Note that one reader believes this to be a Red-eared Slider, not a Map Turtle, and after looking at images on the internet which showed the distinctive rosy underside spotted with black as typical of the Red-ear, I have to agree. Thank you, dear readers, for all your contributions.