Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Turtles at Crex Meadows

Turtles are members of the reptile family that can be recognized by their bony or cartilaginous shell. The shell of a turtle is comprised of the carapace, the upper shell, and the plastron, covering the belly, which are joined together on the sides by bony structures called bridges. Since the shell is an extension of the turtles backbone and ribs the turtle can never leave its shell, despite what you may have seen in the cartoons.
Turtles have been around a long time, the earliest known turtles roamed the earth over 200 million years ago. Today there are over 300 different types of turtles around the world. Some, like many of the large sea turtles, are endangered but others, like the painted turtles pictured here, can be found at most lakes or ponds.
Like all reptiles, turtles are ectothermic, which means that they can not regulate their own body temperature. This is the reason why you often see turtles resting on logs, rocks, or other platforms during sunny days. They use the sun to help warm up their cold blooded bodies. During the winter they will bury themselves in mud at the bottom of the lake or pond and go into a sort of dormant or state. Even though they breath air like we do turtles can survive around 5 months with out breathing while they are hibernating.

7 comments:

siromade08 said...

Wow, an amazing shot of the turtles, they're just gorgeous. You did well on capturing them together.

Coffeeveggie addict. said...

they are so cute and thanks for the info about turtles

eileeninmd said...

Great shots of the turtles. I like the last with the group shot.

Hilda said...

Cute turtles and fascinating information. I never even thought about why they always sun themselves, much less know about not needing to breathe while hibernating. Wow. And thanks!

Hootin' Anni said...

Amazing wildlife photos...love the turtles.

Here is my Watery Photo, hope to see you stop by to view. It's always great to have you visiting.

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Stunning shots - how exciting to see them clamber from the water.

KaHolly said...

You took some pretty great shots here! Love the info that you included. I didn't know turtles could go that long without breathing! That's amazing!~karen