I obviously was at the right place at the right time when I left for town this morning. My driveway was blocked by this turtle. This happens every spring, when snapping turtles and sliders cross the highway from our yard. There’s a strip pit behind our house, and ponds scattered around to the east too. I don’t know if they’re looking for new body of water, or just what. I don’t know how many do make it across, because we usually see the ones that don’t.
As you can tell from the picture, the turtle was on the white line edging the highway. It’s head would come out. A vehicle would go by, and the head quickly went in. I took a few pictures, waited for traffic to clear, and then carried it into the tall plants across the road. The brown on the shell was dried mud.
This is a red-eared slider, also called pond slider. Normally they’re shell is olive-brown with numerous black and yellow lines. Their exposed skin is usually dark green with black and yellow lines, and a wide red stripe runs back from their eyes.
Obviously, this turtle lacks the colors and markings. Older male red-ears sometimes have excess black pigment which obscures most or all of the patterns. This is called “melanism.” Adults grow to 8 inches long. This one seemed longer than that. The length of its claws impressed me!
I’m glad this one was a slider. I don’t know how brave I’d be moving a snapping turtle.