Landing Party

Painted Turtles emerging from a river underneath a country bridge.

Continuing the adventures of Secret Agent Double-0 Turtle, we see our hero and an intriguing female companion landing on Turtle Island Resort—where they will infiltrate the tourists, bask and work on their shell-tans.

I’m not quite sure when it was that Double-0 Turtle acquired his female escort, landing beore him in this photo. With scratches on her shell that look the right size for battle scars with another turtle, she does appear to be aggressive. This would account for the position of a third Turtle, shown in photo #3, below. With head and limbs retracted, is he perhaps displaying submission?

Experts say Painted Turtles are not “social animals” and each can be perfectly happy living alone. Somewhat paradoxically, however, they are “gegarious.” That much is clear in this collection!

You can tell them apart by the length of their claws and tails, shell variations and the patterns on their painted heads. Double-0 Turtle is named for the concentric oval pattern beside each eye. A fearsome, four-eyed visage that might deter a predator!

This photo collection continues my ongoing series, View from a Bridge, revealing the secret world of wildlife lurking under the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge that spans the Upper Delaware River.

Buy high-quality prints of photograph #1, above

Buy high-quality prints of photo #2, below

Buy high-quality prints of photo #3, below

Painted Turtle emerging from a river onto the warm concrete suppprting the stanchion of a Country bridge.
Second photograph in the Landing Party collection, this image reveals the iintricatea detail of the Painted Turtle’s head, arms and carapace (top-shell). Note the concentric ovals next to the eye of this turtle—a pattern that resembles a second eye. I’ve seen this design on the heads of some other Painted Turtles and wonder if it serves a protective purpose.
Three Painted Turtles—one stunning, and two arriving on the concrete support of a bridge stanchion.
Third photograph in a collection of three. Zooming out to see a third Painted Turtle, this photo shows how different the carapace looks when wet. Also, note how the dry Turtle has retracted its head and appendages. Is this a sign of submission toward the Landing Party? And what are we to make of the scratches on the shell of our first arriver? Their size would be right for battle scars from another Painted Turtle. Is this bold adventurer an aggressive Painted Turtle? I want to say “alpha,” but experts would frown on the word. They say Painted Turtles aren’t “social” but “gregarious”—a fine distinction indeed. There is so much to earn about Painted Turtles in this collection!

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