Monday, October 26, 2009
The Sunny Sunday Slider
Well...just when I thought any signs of warm weather had disappeared from fall a beautiful sixty degree Sunday shows up...what is the first thing I decided I better do...rake leaves...sweep the patio...heck no...slap on my waders and head to the retention lakes at JP Morgan Chase! I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon slopping around in the muck looking for Snapping Turtles. Much to my disappointment I didn't see a monster of the mud this day...but I did happen to ambush a beautiful Red Eared Slider.
These turtles frequent ponds and lakes, rivers and some times mucky bogs all across the United States. Unfortunately in most areas these turtles are considered an invasive species, which means that they are only inhabiting certain areas because humans have put them/let them go there. Red Eared Sliders are probably the most common turtle collectors like to call "pets", they are also the most frequently "dumped pets" into near by bodies of water...kind of sad if you think about it. Fortunately for these durable reptiles they usually easily survive and thrive, bad news is that they are usually a red flag for carrying salmonella...a disease that can kill other species of turtles.
Red Eared Sliders can often times be mistaken for either an Eastern or Midland Painted Turtle from far away, as all three species usually have the distinctive bright red markings along the sides of their heads. I knew this was a slider right from the get go... his incredible size gave him away from across the lake.
I had to sneak quietly though the tall reeds surrounding the area he was banked out at...my best shot was simply based upon the fact that he was sunning himself on land, as opposed to a log out in the lake...try getting close to one of these quick reptiles and you will see why they are called sliders...PLOP...right off their perch and POOF...they disappear into the depths of their safe haven.
Long story short, no honestly, about 20 minutes of careful and creepy stalking along the bank of the lake finally got me within striking distance. Than, with a running jump I lept full speed at the turtle...these things are soooo fast...while I was in mid-air Mr. Slider dove from the bank and began to take off into the water. With a "sliding", no pun intended, grasp I managed to wrangle him up before he disappeared...the rest...well that is a history taken in pictures.
He was quite the sport when it came to having his photo taken...we hung out for about 30 minutes...I thanked him for his cooperation...and than set him back into the wild.
What a Sunday!