Turtle, Times Two

 

Late on Christmas afternoon, two turtles had trundled up this tiny snag to enjoy the sunshine and the gift of an especially warm day.

Cold-blooded, turtles control their body temperature by basking in the sun to absorb warmth and UV rays. Heat is radiated to their bodies from their shells, but they often will stretch out their legs to collect additional heat. In the photo below, you can see how far their legs are extended, and how they’ve widened their feet to increase the surface area even more.

I usually see turtles lying prone on logs, but these seemed comfortable at about a 60 degree angle. It’s clearly a favored spot. I’ve seen this pair of what I presume to be red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) on the same snag three different times, but this is the first time I’ve caught their reflection in the water.

 

Comments always are welcome.

An Insufficiently Sneaky Snake

Surely snakes don’t eat water lilies. Do they?

Perhaps they do. The crisp, curled edge of the leaf the snake is sidling up to might be evidence of previous nibbling.

But, no. The sudden thrust of that serpentine tongue clearly is seeking a different kind of treat.
Whatever the prey, it escapes: a wingèd blur of disappointment to the hungry snake.

There’s no time to sulk. Somewhere, another morsel awaits.

As the snake submerges and ripples smooth, no record remains of the little pond drama — apart from these photos, of course.

 

Comments always are welcome.

 

Why Did the Alligator Cross the Road?

American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) at the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge
Click image for greater size and detail

Honestly? I’m not sure. Perhaps he’d become bored with the pond and decided to try the ditch. Maybe he’d wakened from a nap and thought he’d take a stroll. He could have heard a rumor that a flock of appetizers had flown into the neighborhood, and a little snack sounded good. 

This much is certain. As I stood outside my car, I didn’t hear him coming, and when he emerged from the grasses, silent and purposeful, I wasn’t about to get in his way.

Watching him cross the road in front of me, I imagined him to be at least twenty feet long, even though I realized that eight to ten feet was a more realistic estimate.

After giving me one last, sidelong glance, he disappeared into the grasses and slid down the bank. Then, it occurred to me. Wherever he was going, he might be meeting friends.

Comments always are welcome.