February Baskers

When we have warm days in the winter something alerts the basking turtles and up to the pond's surface they come. It always amazes me -- exactly what triggers the behavior? Water temperature changes slowly so I don't think that alerts them. So what, then? I must find a herpetologist and ask.

If you know, please leave a comment...

The turtle above is a male yellowbelly slider (Trachemys scripta scripta). Sliders are very common here.
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A log full of basking turtles. If we could have gotten close enough, you would see that the backs of many of these turtles are covered with mud and algae, signs of where they are spending most of their winter days.


Hugh said...

I'm a herpetologist, but the difference between turtles and lizards (my area) is so vast that they might as well be in different "ologies." Nevertheless I'll hazard a guess.

Either photoperiod or intensity of sunlight penetrating down to wherever they are. I think you're right about the temperature, which ought to be stable at the bottom, assuming they're wintering in water more than a few feet deep.

Your pictures are beautiful, including the previous post's coypu and even its coy-poo.

My name is Stacie. said...

Great pictures. I love turtles. We have a pond, but I have not once seen a turtle in or around it. I wonder why?

Tom said...

Wow, turtles are my favorite creatures on earth. There what sparked my interest in the entire natural world. When I see pictures like this I'm always asking myself, "Why do I live in Ohio again?" Alas, we do have plenty of interesting turtles, I'll just have to wait until April most likely to start seeing them.


swamp4me said...

It could be the light -- the only thing about that is the color of our water. We have very heavy tannin loads and suspended organics which limit the depth that the light can penetrate. But still, we have some brilliantly sunny cold days around here...hmmmm

Maybe the turtles just haven't discovered your pond yet. Around here you can't keep turtles out. We had one to move in to the dog's pool. Granted, it was full of leaves and duckweed and the dog never used it...

swamp4me said...

I'm a turtle lover, too. Eastern box turtles are my personal favorite. And while you may not have winter turtles where you live, you have that most wondrous and mysterious substance called snow - something we seldom ever see here :)

Fuwa2Kyara said...

I'm no expert in turtles, but I hear that they need to bask in the sunlight to prevent moss or something from growing on their shells - which prevent breathing through the shells.
This may apply to Red-eared Mud Sliders though... I'm not sure.

Looking through this blog is very enjoyable. The photos you take of the wildlife are all lovely.
I have a fear of bugs, but your entries really make me want to like them! Your first-hand experiences and encounters with the animals is so exciting to read. X)

swamp4me said...

I'm glad you enjoy the blog. Your comment made my day - if I can help one person want to like bugs then I consider that an accomplishment! Thanks for taking the time to post your comment.