Cullen alerted us to a Painted Turtle laying eggs in our garden. In about an hour she laid eggs, covered them up and traveled roughly 30 yards back to the pond.
The next morning, Cullen remembered the site and, at the first available opportunity, he started digging there. We stopped him, and we don’t think he dug deep enough to disturb the nest (at least we didn’t see any indication there was damage). We erected a nest protection barrier to forestall future invasions. Now we wait 72 days to see what hatches.
Barb and Joe gave us Painter in May of 2008; 12 years ago. We kept him all summer and winter feeding him primarily fish worms until he was fat. We released him in the pond by our house the summer of 2009. Last fall we (or honestly Cullen) found Painter on the lawn and we returned her (we think Painter is a she). The picture was taken when we released her last September.
Yesterday Kathryn and I were planting Elderberries on the bank of the pond when we paused to look for fish cruising in the pond. I saw one large catfish, but even better we spied Painter swimming. She looked graceful – like a big green sea turtle. I read that Painted Turtles can have a life expectancy of 25-30 years – very cool, eh? We put the tree planting shovel to good use yesterday planting 10 Elderberry bushes and 50 white spruce trees. The planting shovel is ideal because it has a narrower blade than a regular shovel and that’s important because we are planting in very rocky ground and the fewer rocks encountered the better. We have been planting trees for many years – the large spruce trees on the west side of the house were planted by Ed and I and are now 30+ feet tall. But I think we are running out of places to put additional trees. Most of the plantings this year were replacement trees for previous plantings that failed.
This afternoon I heard Cullen barking with his “I have a snake or something unusual: treeing bark. It was a painted turtle who had left our pond and was trapped against the dog fence. I brought the turtle inside and offered her (I think) a large night crawler. When Eric and Kathryn got home I showed them the turtle – which I believe is the correct size to be our previous Painted Turtle, Painter. She looked healthy and we decided to return her to the pond.
The Back Story about Painter.
Last week Barb and Joe found a Eastern Painted Turtle hatch ling – probably only 2-3 days old. He was tiny and likely destined as a food source. They asked Eric to raise the turtle until he was a little older and had a better chance at survival. Eric named the turtle Painter and after a copy of fretful days he/she has started to eat. Painter ignored the fruit: blueberries and strawberries but took tiny bites of soaked dog food and a bite of an orange. Yesterday while Kathryn was working home alone she said she could hear the faintest sound of smacking and looked to see Painter eating a mouthful of dog food.
In the picture above Painter is in ‘basking’ mode. At
night Painter hides under the vegetation. May 16th, 2008
Painter, the baby painted turtle, was confined to a large tub in the basement where he happily dug into the mud and hibernated until this past week. The mud in his tub dried up and he awoke to investigate the problem. After re-hydrating his ‘pond’ and covering him with a damp cloth Painter dug in somewhat and went back to his snooze. We will continue to monitor his slumber and plan for his move to warmer floors within the house. February 11th, 2009 |
Our painted turtle, Painter, has quite an appetite and has
been visibly growing. He prefers fish worms to almost all other food and
will eat them from a hand if you move slow and dangle the fish worm where he
can see it. A measure of his growth is evident in the wide light gray
areas between the scutes on his carapace.