Frog Friday: You Looking at Me? Edition

Frog Friday You Looking at Me Edition

You Looking at Me?…, photo by Kevin Povenz

I had so much fun with Blackcaps: Blackberry or Black Raspberry last week that I had to try it again (spoiler alert: they were black raspberries).

What do you think, internets: is this a Northern green frog or a Michigan bullfrog? The only difference I know of between the two is that the green frog has a fold of skin from the eardrum down each side of the back.

View Kevin’s photo bigger and see more in his Animals slideshow.

More frogs on Michigan in Pictures.

Frog Friday

Frog Friday

A frog in the backyard pond, photo by jiafanxu

Anyone feeling like this at the end of the week? Fortunately, one of our last summer weekends awaits!

View Jiafanxu’s photo bigger and see more in their slideshow.

More frogs on Michigan in Pictures!

Know Your Michigan Turtles: Blanding’s Turtle

Blanding's Turtle

Blanding’s Turtle, photo by Nick Scobel

One 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 come by to hang with our hard-shelled friends, here’s the latest installment in the series! 

The University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web entry for Emydoidea blandingii (Blanding’s Turtle) says that the Great Lakes region is currently a stronghold for this species:

Blanding’s turtles are found in and around shallow weedy ponds, marshes, swamps, and lake inlets and coves most of the year. They prefer slow-moving, shallow water and a muddy bottom with plenty of vegetation.

Blanding’s turtle are medium sized turtles with a carapace length ranging from 15.2 to 27.4 cm. These semi-aquatic turtles have moderately high, domed carapaces. They are elongate and smooth, lacking keels or sculpturing. The carapacial scutes display distinct growth annuli most prominently seen in juveniles. Coloration between individuals is highly variable. The carapace is black or gray with any variation of scattered light yellow or whitish flecks or dots. The light spots and flecks predominate in some individuals while others are almost solid black. The plastron is yellow in color with a dark blotch in the outer corner of each scute, and has a V-shaped notch near the tail.

Blanding’s turtles, like most other turtles, emerge to bask on sunny days. Basking sits include logs, grass clumps, sloping banks, or high perches near the water. Although these turtles are quite tolerant to cold, the summer heat may restrict their activities to early morning and evening or possibly a more nocturnal lifestyle. In the event of their habitat drying up some individuals will opt to migrate to new bodies of water while others simply burrow into the mud and aestivate until conditions improve. Blanding’s turtles generally hibernate from late October until early April, but quite often they can be seen moving slowly below the ice.

Blanding’s turtles are omnivores. Their favorite food items are crustaceans but they also feed on insects, leeches, snails, small fish, frogs, and occasionally some plants. Food is captured with a rapid thrust of this turtle’s long neck, similar to the feeding actions of the snapping turtle (Chelydra). Feeding mostly occurs underwater and food seized on land is generally carried to the water for swallowing. Prey is either swallowed whole or if it is too large it is held by the jaws and shredded into smaller pieces by the front claws.

The Michigan DNR notes that Blanding’s Turtle is protected as a species of special concern in Michigan and also has a map of occurences of Blanding’s Turtle.

View Nick’s photo bigger and see a lot more of his photos of Blanding’s turtles on Flickr including this shot of the turtle’s amazingly long neck. Nick also runs the Herping Michigan Blog, a great resource to see a lot of reptiles and amphibians in the wild!

Know your Michigan turtles

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 on the DNR site and 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!

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!