|Muncher hanging out in a bucket
on tank-cleaning day.
Raise your hand if you know the name of Camp Foley’s Painted Turtle! Well, even if you didn’t raise your hand our shout out, “MUNCHER!” no worries. Today, I’m going to share with you all the fun facts about Painted Turtles, a native turtle to our area.
First of all, let me tell you something super cool: Fossils show that the Painted Turtle existed 15 million years ago! Amazing! Also, the Painted Turtle is the most widespread native turtle in North America. It can be found from southern Canada to Louisiana and northern Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. The most common place we see the Painted Turtle at Foley is over in Hidden Lake because it enjoys fresh waters with soft bottoms, shallow waters, slow-moving currents, basking sites, and aquatic vegetation. Those factors make Hidden Lake the perfect home for the turtles.
There are actually four types of Painted Turtles:
|Norm meets a Painted Turtle!|
- Eastern Painted Turtle: This turtle ranges from five to seven inches long. It’s upper shell is olive green to black and it may have a pale stripe down the middle with red markings. The segments of the shell have pale edges and occur in straight rows across its back. This segment pattern is unlike all other North American turtles.
- Midland Painted Turtle: This turtle has a dark, symmetrical shadow in the center of its bottom shell that varies in size and prominence. It ranges from four to 10 inches long.
- Southern Painted Turtle: This is the smallest of the Painted turtles – only four to six inches long. Its top shell has a red line running down the middle, and its bottom shall is tan.
- Western Painted Turtle: This is the type of Painted Turtle we see at camp and the type of Painted Turtle that Muncher is. Its top shell has a mesh-like pattern of light lines. Its bottom shell has a large colored splotch that spreads to the edges and often has a red hue. The Western Painted Turtle can grow up to 10 inches long.
|Painted Turtles basking on Hidden Lake.|