Reflections on World Turtle Day!

Reflections (Turtles) by Glen Suszko

Reflections (turtles) by Glen Suszko

I know I said I was taking the weekend off, but May 23rd is World Turtle Day, one of my favorite days! It was created by the good people at American Tortoise Rescue to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.

Every year I’m happy to report that one of the most popular features on Michigan in Pictures remains Know Your Michigan Turtles that I wrote back in 2013 and have added to through the years with photos and articles about every one of Michigan’s 10 native turtle species including our most common one, the painted turtle.

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.

Painted turtles may live as long as 35 to 40 years, but most will not survive for this long

Glen took this photo last month at Stony Creek Metropark. Visit his Flickr for lots more photos!

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