Posts Tagged 'reptiles'


On a 40F day, a single turtle is observed on the edge of the Sylvan Water. What’s this, though? Not a Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), by far the most common turtle across the city. I once counted 70 basking along the Lullwater in Prospect Park.

This is a Yellow-bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta). As their binomials, which are actually trinomials, suggest, they’re the same species. Both sliders are native to the southeast. The pet trade has spread them all over.

Please don’t get a turtle for a pet. It’s a wild animal. It shouldn’t be captive. I don’t think it matters that they’re bred for the trade: nobody should be making a profit off of them. Also, those shitballs on the sidewalk who sell them when they’re under 4″ are illegal animal traders, so report them.

So many of these impulse buys are then disposed of, if the turtles are lucky, in local fresh water far from their native region by irresponsible fools. It’s a great way to spread disease and screws the turtles who are supposed to be here. What the fuck is wrong with people who do this kind of thing?

Make Your Own Metaphors

Turtle with a leech latched onto its…brain? Some people say the Senator from Oligarchy, Mitch McConnell, whose career is based on an infusion of foreign cash, looks like a turtle. I wouldn’t want to insult a turtle with that comparison. But the miserable old cynic sure acts like a leech on democracy… so there’s that.

November Slider

Recently on Valley Water… a lone Red-eared slider was enjoying the freakish day.

I no more enjoy writing about the human excrement that is Donald Trump than you do reading about it. When he tweeted the disgusting Britain First tweets yesterday, giving aid and comfort to yet more fascists — the murderer of MP Jo Cox was poisoned by that BF filth — he showed once again that there is absolutely no bottom to his depravity in playing to his “base” of racist/nationalist yahoo-dumbfucks. He feeds these vicious dolts tweets to eat while he and the monstrous Republican Party work hard to immiserate them (and the rest of us) for the gangster-oligarchic authoritarian/corporatist state of their dreams. They’re cannibals set on dismembering the nation. And damn few of us seem to realize that a mass movement is the only way to stop them.

Any syllabus of this forgotten idea should start with Jonathan Schell‘s history of noncooperation, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence and the Will of the People.


Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), the only species of snake I’ve ever run into in New York City. And that hasn’t been all that frequently. But they’re out there. And this lovely specimen was in the Bronx.

It’s tremendously unfair to animals to compare them to people. Pig, snake, rat, insect, etc. Yesterday, Orange Spray-on-Tan endorsed police brutality before a crowd of cheering cops betraying their public trust and duty. This followed his Drumpfjugend rally with the Boy Scouts earlier in the week. The Anti-Midas, everything he touches turns to shit. The man is defecating on America and wiping himself with the Constitution. And the Republicans are helping him.

Snake in the Moss

Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon). Saw a half dozen basking off of the boardwalk. This common snake, second only to the Garter in abundance regionally, is, like that species, somewhat varied in form. You can see stripes on this youngish one, but most Great Swamp specimens look very dark and unmarked (as they dry in the sun, the scales tend to look more uniform). This is one of the snake species that give birth to live young, one to three dozen itty-bitty snakes.

This Tom Tomorrow cartoon encapsulates it all well: Trump’s bullshit and his refusal to admit it was his bullshit.

Muckle Turkle

The Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum). This species is endangered here in New York State, where they are only found on the non-NYC parts of Long Island. (Habitat destruction, car wheels, the usual work of H. allegedly sapiens.) A fair number were in the Pitch and Tar Swamp at Jamestown Island, Virginia, where I took these pictures last week. These are the first Muddies I’ve ever come across.They’re small turtles, about 4 inches long when fully grown, and just under 5″ for the record-breakers. And have they got a lot of neck! Evidently, they’re sometimes mistaken for young Snappers, but the practiced eye will disabuse that notion. I read that they’re the only mud turtle in most of their range and have a strong tolerance for salt water, so can be found in brackish marshes and the like.

I tried to turn one of the numerous examples in that turtle paradise into a Stinkpot (Sternotherus odoratus), a.k.a., Common Musk Turtle, but I failed. That’s a species I still haven’t seen. They are supposed to still be on Staten Island.

Turtles Galore

A foot bridge connects the mainland of Jamestown Island with the original settlement of Jamestowne, the first permanent English colony in North America. On a recent visit we barely made it across the old tar and pitch swamp. Because down below in the muck were four species of turtles: Snapper, Painted, Spotted, and Mud, that captured all our attention. Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata), the least numerous of the lot. Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta, the most common. This trio abandoned this upland as thisSnapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) clambered out. Several of the Snappers were still caked in mud.One was boulder-sized.

(I’ll return at a later date with the Mud Turtles.)


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