Rufus Retriever Meets Male Spotted Turtle
Turtle Journal’s Sue Wieber Nourse and Rufus Retriever visited the Goldwitz abandoned cranberry bog on Tuesday. On Sunday, they had found a female spotted turtle basking on the bank of a bog channel at Goldwitz. Since then, the weather had deteriorated into a chilly overcast with spitting rain. No self-respecting turtle would be caught dead or alive basking in such un-turtle-like conditions.
Spotted Turtle Hides in Plain Sight
As they walked along the bog looking for turtles, salamanders, frogs and toads, Sue’s eyes caught an anomaly at the bottom of the channel. She stopped, stared and confirmed that a spotted turtle was lying underneath. (Take a look at the photograph above. Can you see the turtle hiding in plain sight? When you think you have identified the spotted turtle in the picture, click on the image and the solution will appear in a new window.) Sue slipped down the bank, plunged into the water and grabbed the turtle in her bare hands. Rufus skidded down the bank, jumped in the water and played.
Male Spotted Turtle Drab Neck
Sue had captured Male Spotted Turtle #7, whom Don Lewis had first captured on May 7th, 2007 as he basked on the banks of this same channel. Back then, he was recorded as older than 11 years, he measured 11.39 centimeters straight-line carapace length, and he weighed 189 grams. The next time Spotted #7 was seen occurred on March 27, 2008, when he again basked on the same bank in 40 degree sunshine. Notice the drabness of his neck which contrasts with the colorful female Sue captured on Sunday (see below).
Spotted Turtle Male Tail
Another indicator of #7′s maleness is his tail. Note it is considerably thicker than Sunday’s female (see below), and also note that the anal opening falls significantly beyond the edge of his carapace. Again, contrast with the female tail below.
Male Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) Carapace
This April Spotted Turtle #7 measured 11.45 centimeters straight-line carapace length, 8.5 centimeters maximum carapace width, and 8.1 centimeters wide along the suture between the first and second costals. He weighed 194 grams.
Male Spotted Turtle Plastron Concavity
This plastron photograph illustrates all of his male attributes: the drably colored neck, the thick tail and significant concavity posterior of the bridge. Spotted #7 measured 8.5 centimeters straight-line plastron length along the central suture and 5.7 centimeters wide behind the bridge.
Rufus Say Farewell to Male Spotted Turtle
After recording morphometric data and examining the health of Spotted Turtle #7, Sue released him back into the bog channel … with a lot of health from Rufus the Turtle Dog who escorted Lucky Seven back into the water.