Welcome to our weekly series: Friday’s Farm Fauna. Life abounds at our training farm, and it’s not just the fresh veggies, fruit, and flowers our farmers grow. From wild turkeys to snapping turtles to bumblebees, every Friday, we share a glimpse of the hidden life on our farm.
At the beginning of the growing season, this painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) surprised Baoxia as she was hoeing weeds in her lettuce bed. Apparently, it decided it needed a break from wading through our duckweed-filled pond and started to waltz through the fields.
Painted turtles are omnivorous; according to Wikipedia, their diet varies seasonally between insects and vegetation. Unfortunately, one of their favorite foods is dragonfly larvae, but we won’t hold it against them. Dragonfly larvae must be packed with nutrients; painted turtles can live up to 55 years in the wild!
There are four subspecies of painted turtle in the US – this fellow is likely a western painted turtle. As with any animal or insect identification, it’s helpful to have a live specimen to get an accurate identification. With turtles, the belly is one of the distinguishing features. So, next time you run across a turtle, don’t forget to flip it over and take a peek!
To read earlier posts in this series, click on the links below:
Pink Spotted Lady Bug
Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Western Gray Tree Frog
Plains Leopard Frog and Western Ribbon Snake
Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar