Sunday, April 5, 2009

I let the boat do all the work. That's my secret.

I just recently returned from a lovely weekend getaway with the Carter family at their home in St. Mary's County and I have so much to share with you all but am too tired tonight so... for now I will just post this photo of the darling little *snapping turtle* that tried to give me Salmonella.

**UPDATE** I stand corrected. This little fellow is actually a Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta). See comments for more details. Thnx, filatore.


Filatore said...

Hey--as a recent transplant from Florida and a turtle enthusiast (I bet you don't hear that everyday), I feel compelled to make a comment about this photo.

There are only two true "Snapping Turtles" found in the US. The first is the Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)--most commonly recognized by a very dark pattern and the two nostrils on the very end of the snout (a common trait of turtles that spend most of their time in the water.) Your turtle has the nostrils, but not the very dark pattern.

The second is the Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) which has three very prominent rows of spikes on its shell and a much darker color (with no stripes). It also has this nasty horn-like structure above it's mouth--definitely not what you are holding.

Which begs the question...what are you holding?

The answer lies right behind his beady little eyes...see that vibrant strip of orange/red? That's a classic example of "Trachemys scripta", better known as the Red-eared Slider. I have to warn you..if you brought him home, some of them can live up to be 30 years old!

Niko said...

When I saw the photo yesterday I thought the same thing, well that it was not a snapping turtle. It slipped my mind what it was but now that Filatore mentioned "Slider", I remembered it instantly. If they live until 30 this one must be real young, I wonder how old he is?

Deborah said...

I am lucky to have turtle enthusiasts reading my blog. ;-) He really did snap at me though! And some form of hissing as well. But obviously we got past that because, as visible in the photo, he is all smiles and joy.

Anywho, thanks for the clarification. The turtle is said to have been purchased from a sketchy shop in Boston, specifically Chinatown, at least a few months if not a year ago, and at the time of purchase was the size of an egg. I hope to see him again within the next 30 years. Will he get much bigger, filatore?

Filatore said...

Males get about 8-10 inches big, and females get 10-12 inches big (that's their total length, not the diameter of their shell).

They used to be sold everywhere as pets, but have been the cause of quite a seems that they breed like crazy and can quickly take over, killing native habitat and eating everything in sight (that's right...your cute little friend is really a horned-up sex monster on the loose). Additionally, they carried a serious threat of salmonella, and that was/is the reason why in the United States, it is illegal to sell a Red-eared Slider that has a shell less than 4 inches in diameter.

You may find this article interesting, and surprisingly enough, it tends to fit with the usual theme of this blog. It's the reason why so many RE Sliders carry salmonella:

Deborah said...

Will definitely check out that link shortly. And I can't believe that this adorable little guy could actually be considered, gulp, an invasive species :-(

Deborah said...

Wowzers. I don't know whether I should love or hate him! On one hand he's a fugative with the power to displace native turtles and spread disease... on the other hand he is an innocent victim of a once-booming turtle farming and trading industry that turned black market because kids kept putting the baby turtles in their mouths.