When I saw this photo in the Absolute Michigan group, I wondered it it was the right day to talk about painted turtles (I have to be careful after last summer’s TurtleGate incident as you may recall). When I saw the siskokid’s shot of a painted turtle basking in the sun just a few photos later, I figured it was a sign of some sort.
The painted turtle is one of the most common turtles in the US. It’s Michigan’s state reptile and the Michigan DNR’s Painted Turtle page has a map that shows where you can find them in the state. Wikipedia’s Painted Turtle entry notes that turtle nests are the snack bar of the animal world, vulnerable to predation by raccoons, squirrels, chipmunk, woodchucks, skunk, badger, foxes, fish crows, garter snakes, deer, ants, beavers and humans. The UM Animal Diversity web has pictures and information about Chrysemys picta (the painted turtle) and says that:
Painted turtles prefer living in freshwater that is quiet, shallow, and has a thick layer of mud.
Painted turtles are brightly marked. They have a smooth shell about 90 to 250 mm long. Their shell acts as protection, but since the ribs are fused to the shell, the turtle cannot expand its chest to breathe but must force air in and out of the lungs by alternately contracting the flank and shoulder muscles. The painted turtle has a relatively flat upper shell with red and yellow markings on a black or greenish brown background.