Know your Michigan turtles

May 24, 2013

Posing Painted Turtle

I’m Posing for the Camera, photo by capcbd

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:

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!

Check this photo out background bigtacular and see more in capcbd’s water slideshow.

Also check out more turtles on Michigan in Pictures and definitely have a look at the turtle slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr!

PS: This is one of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures. Hooray for turtles!

8 Responses to “Know your Michigan turtles”

  1. Gregg Barr Says:

    There are no Tortoises in Michigan are there?, or any turtles that are more correctly referred to as a tortoise, I was under the impression that was a term reserved for more tropical species of more considerable size.


    • farlane Says:

      I don’t believe there are Gregg. The reference to “tortoise” is only for American Tortoise Rescue.

      In other news & oddly enough, this post is getting 100-200 visitors a day so expect more turtle pics!


  2. Rob Says:

    Yes of course we have tortoise’s in Michigan. Quite large ones too and I don’t mean in the U.P. I grew up in the Detroit metro area and have seen huge ones while hiking. Also tortoise is not a “tropical” reference. It’s quite simply a land turtle. Great site by the way!


  3. […] of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures is Know Your Michigan Turtles, drawing around 100 people each day. Along with “Yay turtles!”, “Give the people […]


  4. […] of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures is Know Your Michigan Turtles where there’s now 6 of Michigan’s 10 turtle species profiled. For all those folks who […]


  5. […] May 23rd is World Turtle Day and Michigan is home to 10 native turtle species. I’ve now profiled 7 (most with Nick’s awesome photography), and you can get the full list at one of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures: Know Your Michigan Turtles. […]


  6. […] is that Michigan’s frogs are a little put out by all the attention my readers are paying to Michigan turtles, so here’s a little payback. The DNR’s page on Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) […]


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