A yellow-bellied slider
The other day I wrote about our encounter around midnight with IT, thinking that what snarled at us sounded like a big wild cat. I had previously seen a mountain lion about 80 miles downriver of here, back in June 2010. That one I saw for myself, though getting a picture of it was impossible.
"Hello mountain lion, could you please stand still, wait while I get my camera, turn it on, get it in focus and snap your picture?"
So the next day, puppy dog Harley and I set out hiking, to look for big cat paw prints. I took my camera. We looked all over the yard at the campground, then we headed for the clearing where we often see deer. They too scamper off before I can catch their picture, but I keep trying. So far I have lots of pictures of the clearing, minus the white tailed deer.
How I wish I had a motion activated solar powered trail cam to leave there.
In the clearing, I was photographing suspicious tracks. After looking them over on the computer, I see the three dimensional effect is greatly diminished. What I need is Plaster of Paris to make impressions of the prints. I wandered around, then I would stand perfectly still, for a few minutes, waiting, listening to see if anything live turned up.
Well what do I see? A big turtle!
|Big mama turtle, in the clearing. I shortened up Harley's leash, so he couldn't race over to disturb her. From this far away, it appeared as though she was stuck in the mud. I quietly, slowly, tiptoed over to her.|
|This yellow-bellied slider had a shell about 15 inches long, rather large for her species. (I wish I had a dollar bill or a ruler with me to photograph next to her.) After researching the internet and firing off emails, two different sources from the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, wrote me back, both confirming she is a yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta).|
A big thank you goes out to both these researchers for their super prompt replies.
|These pictures were actually taken from a distance, then cropped, as I did not wish to stress the mama turtle any, while she laid out her nest and eggs.|
|I am very fascinated by the intricate markings on her shell. It has a lot of dried up mud all over it. |
I guess she hasn't had a proper bath lately.
Pregnant women have a hard time at everything.
|I decided to leave her alone to finish her business. Later in the day, I would check back on her progress.|
|See you later, mama turtle!|
Later, I came back, immediately spotting her nice neat nest. If you look closely, you will see it is almost a perfect circle. She has carefully done her best to disguise the baby eggs, hidden safely beneath the ground. The red mud is just barely visible. That was one busy lady!
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