by Barbara Walvoord
( Originally printed in Lathrop Lamp Post, June 2-9, 2017)
Last spring, Sharon and I found a painted turtle on the road at Mulberry Lane. Last week we found another one at about the same spot. Last year’s turtle was dead, its shell smashed by a car. This year’s turtle was alive, working its legs rhythmically, hauling its protective shell purposefully across the road. It knew where it wanted to go, and we had built a road in its way.
Undoubtedly, our turtle has come from a slow moving stream or a pond. During the winter, it burrowed into the mud at the bottom, or found a muskrat burrow. While dormant, its body reduced the need for oxygen, so it could “breathe” through its skin, throat lining, and thin-walled sacs near its anus. Emerging in spring, our turtle stayed near water. After a graceful courtship dance, in which the male swam around the female, as they stroked each other gently with their legs, the couple sank to the bottom of the pond for underwater mating. Continue reading Careful! Don’t Hit a Turtle on our Road