Monday, October 26, 2009
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!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
After spending about a month capturing footage and looking at the pieces we had of the episode...we decided that The Reptile Crew needed to embark on a second mission to Middle Bass Island. Coyote Peterson, Jasper Applewood, Chip Swaggerty and Roxy Raven Claw made the expedition on the beautiful but windy first weekend of October. With Coyote behind the camera most of the time and Jasper in the spotlight for his FACTS FROM THE FIELD GUIDE segments it made for a very interesting and humoring weekend. The scenery was amazing and the light spectacular...incredible clouds rolled across the lake and provided us with images unlike anything that has ever been seen before. Check out some of the pics here...and visit the fan page on Facebook for a complete portfolio of the weekend.
Friday afternoon magic!
Chip Swaggerty and Coyote Peterson in the trenches.
The Subject of Todays Episode...THE COMMON SNAPPING TURTLE!
Hi...I'm JASPER APPLEWOOD...and this is Facts...From a Field Guide!
Jasper and Coyote...breaking the law!
This image sums it all up...
Poster Test for Promotional Stuffs....
This past weekend The Reptile Show crew did a photo shoot for a local magazine called...614 Magazine. Coyote, Jasper, Chip and Zoom meandered out to Blendon Woods Metro Park to shoot the ending cap of the Test Pilot Episode and we took with us 614 reporter Megan Burkholder and photographer Derik Burkholder. They are doing a story on the show and wanted to see a little of the on camera action...while at the same time getting a chance to get their feet wet in reptile wrestling. It has gotten pretty cold, pretty quick here in good ole' Ohio...so our chances at finding beasties was originally looking kind of slim...much to our amazement however...the day was an incredible success! Check out the high lights of the day...
Early on in the expedition Coyote snagged this Midland Painted Turtle from the boggy waters...the small but mighty beast was foraging for delights on the muddy floor of the swamp. Take a look at those claws! Gadzooks and graham cracker stew it looks like he just got back from the salon!
As the adventure continued deeper into the swamp Coyote nabbed the subject of the day...a monster of the murky abyss...the Common Snapping Turtle. This beast was sleeping in the mud and was barely visible...just his head could be seen 2 feet below the surface, the rest of his body buried in thick black mud...its amazing we even saw him. As it turned out the light was just at the right angle and Coyote knew exactly what to look for. Unearthing the beast was the high light of the day and the photo shoot became exactly what we set out for it to be...an incredible success!
Enjoy a few more pictures of this incredible animal...he will probably be the last snapper of the summer.
This Snapping Turtle's carapace, that's the top of the shell...measured 14 inches. The beast weighed about 35 lbs and his temper...ill.
Fitting your hand in this animals mouth...easily done...would that be a good idea? Probably not...that is if you ever want that hand back!
Coyote and the Snapping Turtle singing Jingle Bells together...
As winter quickly approaches here in Ohio these prehistoric looking creatures will bury themselves deep into the muddy waters of swamps, bogs, marshes and ponds as they hibernate the cold winter months away. Coyote, Jasper, Chip, Blasco and Zoom will now wait the winter away and count the days till spring when these incredible reptiles will reemerge from the darkness and return to the adventure.