Cute Scute

A piece of turtle carapace found along the edge of Valley Water.
This is keratin, the same material found in nails/claws, hooves, hair, horns. In turtles, these horny plates cover the bone of the shell.
Here’s a Painted Turtle with some exfoliation of the scutes or plates visible. My sample above looks too big for this Painted, the only one I’ve seen Valley Water, so it probably came from a Red-eared Slider.

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