Know your Michigan turtles
May 24, 2013
It appears the turtle above is aware that Michigan’s state reptile is the painted turtle. I thought it perfect for my day-late post celebrating World Turtle Day (May 23), an annual day of recognition that was started in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue. They offer some tips to help preserve endangered turtles worldwide including not buying turtles or tortoises from pet shop (it increases demand from the wild), not removing turtles from the wild unless they are injured, and something that we can all do when we’re on the roads: if a turtle is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again!
It might surprise you to learn that Michigan is home to 10 native turtle species. You can check out the Michigan DNR’s Michigan turtle page or click the links below to view their articles on each of the 10 species:
- Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) (Know Your Michigan Turtles: Blanding’s Turtle on Michigan in Pictures)
- Common Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) (Spend World Turtle Day with Common Map Turtles on Michigan in Pictures)
- Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)
- Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) (Michigan’s Common Snapping Turtle on Michigan in Pictures)
- Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) (Michigan Turtle Tuesday: Eastern Box Turtle on Michigan in Pictures)
- Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) (The Painted Turtle in Michigan on Michigan in Pictures)
- Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
- Spiny Soft-shell Turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera)
- Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) (Know your Michigan Turtles: Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) on Michigan in Pictures)
- Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta) (The Wood Turtle in Michigan on Michigan in Pictures)
If you’re trying to identify a turtle you’ve found, Check out Nick Scobel’s Herping Michigan Blog and James Harding “The Critter Guy” at the MSU museum has a great Michigan turtle identification guide and loads of turtle lore.
Speaking of Turtle Lore, I always like to shout out a book I read as a kid that did more to foster my love of Michigan than any other: Lore of the Great Turtle. It was filled with Indian tales of Mackinac Island , and one of these was the formation of the island. While this version adapted by Basil Johnston is not quite the same, I think you’ll enjoy it!