13 May 2015

Turtles

This is the time of year and the ideal weather for our garden to be loaded with turtles. They travel across our property eating wild strawberries and other delectable treats that we grow for them, visit the pond, mate, have their babies and hang out.
Three-toed box turtles

Oklahoma has 17 turtle species that are found in various places. Two species are land living box turtles and 15 of them are aquatic ones.

In our yard we mostly see the three-toed box, ornate box and painted turtles. They will eat anything small enough for them to get ahold of, including berries, flowers, mushrooms, fruit, beetles, slugs earthworms, larvae, grubs, etc.

The Chelydridae family is two species of large, carnivorous turtles including the snapping and the alligator snapping turtles. Do not try to pick these up - they will bite you.

Other water turtles include yellow mud, Mississippi mud, razor-back musk, and common musk/stinkpot.

The Emydidae group includes map, box, basking turtles that are found in streams and rivers in eastern Oklahoma. The map turtles include common, Ouachita and Mississippi.

The box turtles include three-toed and ornate.

Acquatic turtles can also be called basking turtles because they like to sit on logs and rocks. These include eastern river cooler, red-eared slider, western chicken and painted.

The Trionychidae or shoftshell turtles include smooth softshell and spiny softshell.

If you want to identify turtles you are seeing in parks or at home, go to this link at Discover Life. And, if you are considering catching them for pets or the dinner table be sure to check into the hunting license dates and requirements.

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