Midland Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta bellii and
Northern Leopard Frog Rana pipiens
30 August 2014
In shallow ponds and marshes at this time of the year it is common to see brightly coloured painted turtles basking in the sun. As the following picture attests, this is a species that is aptly named.
This turtle requires water courses with a muddy bottom and profuse growths of aquatic vegetation, which comprises a large part of its diet. It also feeds on crayfish, small frogs, earthworms, insects and small mollusks.
Due to the musculature of its tongue it can only consume food underwater.
Several individuals were present and all were jostling for the most favourable position to enjoy the warmth of an August day.
I was also able to spot several Northern Leopard Frogs, one of our most attractive species in my opinion. In recent years this frog has not fared well and its numbers declined substantially. It seems to me that 2014 is a bit of a rebound year, just based on my own observations.
Northern Leopard Frogs spend the winter at the bottom of a stream or river more or less dormant. There are always individuals who do not choose their winter habitat well and attempt to survive the cold months in water that is too shallow, and they either freeze to death or succumb due to the depleted oxygen levels as the ice gets thicker.