What Could Be Cuter?

by Carl Strang

Birds were my first serious natural history study as a 7-year-old, but reptiles and amphibians always fascinated. Catching turtles was just a part of growing up within a block of Lake Maxinkuckee. We’d keep some for a while, then let them go. The best were the babies, the hatchlings or tiny ones, especially the little painted turtles, stinkpots and eastern spiny softshells. All this came back a few days ago when Janneke placed this little guy on my desk.

This painted turtle is roughly the diameter of a quarter.

He had been picked up some distance from the nearest water, a hatchling trying to find his way. I was happy to oblige, in exchange for a few portraits.

Janneke Fowers, Mayslake Forest Preserve’s heritage interpreter who held the turtle for the photos, remarked at the strength of the tiny testudinate.

The easiest way to determine the baby’s species was to look at the underside.

The simple dark patch against the yellow plastron reveals that this is a midland painted turtle.

We admired him, then I took him down to the edge of Trinity Lake to begin his aquatic career.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: