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.

Lookin’ Out My Back Door

 

No, I wasn’t at a wildlife refuge. I wasn’t exploring a bayou, or slogging through a swamp. I was sitting at my desk when I happened to glance toward  the marina, and saw the unmistakable profile.

A quick run down the stairs took me to the water’s edge, where light from the setting sun flickered and faded. You never know, I thought. You just never know what you’re going to see — even if you’re only looking out your back door.

 

Creedence Clearwater Revival ~ lyrics, J.C. Fogerty

 

Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy!
Got to sit down, take a rest on the porch.
Imagination sets in, pretty soon I’m singin’
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.
Giant doin’ cartwheels, statue wearin’ high heels,
Look at all the happy creatures dancin’ on the lawn.
Dinosaur Victrola list’nin’ to Buck Owens
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.
Tambourines and elephants are playin’ in the band
Won’t you take a ride on the flyin’ spoon? Doo, doo, doo
Wond’rous apparition provided by magician
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.
Tambourines and elephants are playin’ in the band
Won’t you take a ride on the flyin’ spoon? Doo, doo, doo
Bother me tomorrow, today, I’ll buy no sorrow
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.
Forward troubles Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy!
Look at all the happy creatures dancin’ on the lawn
Bother me tomorrow, today, I’ll buy no sorrow
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door.

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.