Friday, October 8, 2010

Basking in the autumn sun

A Painted Turtle sunning on a log at the junction of Cedar Creek and the Thames River.

The Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre website states this about the Midland Painted Turtle:

Chrysemys picta marginata

If you have seen a bunch of turtles on a log then chances are you have seen a Painted turtle. The sun loving Midland Painted Turtle is a familiar inhabitant of lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and wetlands in Ontario. It is an aquatic species coming to land only to nest and migrate. The shell is green above and bright yellow below with a central dark blotch. the upper shell is fairly flat and flares at the rear margin. The under side of the margins of the shell have patterns of red and black and appear to have been painted on hence the turtles name. The head is green with yellow stripes and spots and the stripes turn to red on the legs. The feet are webbed.
Painted turtles are excellent swimmers and avid baskers which is why they are so conspicuous as they will gather in large numbers on a site such as a fallen log, to bask. Painted turtles are still plentiful in Ontario but their habitat as with all species is disappearing and disjointed. Painted turtles are protected from collection and ownership in Ontario under MNR regulations. Two subspecies, the Western Painted (C.p.bellii) and the Midland Painted (C.p.marginata) live in Ontario.


  1. Basking in the sun like that turtle would be so, so much more fun than working, indoors, on this lovely warm autumn day.

  2. And that's exactly what I'm doing - working indoors on a beautiful autumn day... But it's a long weekend for us here in Canada - our Thanksgiving - and the weather forecast is very promising here in southwestern Ontario. So, tally ho, lots of trail walking ahead!

  3. I had a turtle when I was a kid that lived much longer than most turtles from the pet store. I think it was a variety of painted turtle. He got so large that he had a pen outdoors with his own little swimming pool. Butch was a cute guy. We finally had to find a new home for him when I went off to college. - Margy

  4. Margy, that's so cool. There are snapping turtles in the same area and I saw a couple of them in the spring. I love the way the flora and fauna changes season to season on this trail.