Category Archives: Reptiles

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling

Ted and I went on a fundraising / educational trip to Bulls Island to promote the Loggerhead Turtle nesting spearheaded by the Coastal Expeditions Foundation. Money and citizen knowledge are two things that are helping these turtles successfully nest in Cape Romain.

We were treated to an amazing and unexpected experience when one of the wildlife technicians that monitors the nests released five hatchlings that had fallen behind their nest mates. I waded into the water for a unique view, but not standing still as the sand shifted beneath my feet.

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean
Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean – about 2 inches (5 cm) long

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean
Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean
Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean

The next wave swept him away and I got one shot of him paddling off.

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling In Ocean
Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling In Ocean

Bulls Island, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, SC
July 24, 2022

From Coastal Expeditions Foundation:
https://www.coastalexpeditions.com/cast/

Protecting Sea Turtles in Cape Romain NWR

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is the most significant nesting site north of Florida on the Eastern seaboard. Over 3000 nests are laid on the barrier island beaches of this refuge each summer, and it takes a legion of volunteers and two wildlife technicians to handle the task of protecting and categorizing every loggerhead nest.

Every year, this program needs to be fully funded from outside donations and grants to pay for the seasonal salaries of two wildlife technicians and two interns. The Coastal Expeditions Foundation handles this $50,000 commitment through fundraisers and grass roots donations.

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, extending 22 miles along the South Carolina Coast, is a rich mosaic of barrier islands with forest and ponds, vast salt marshes and intricate waterways. This diverse and dynamic system supports over 293 bird species and a myriad of other wildlife. Over fifty percent of refuge lands are designated a Class I National Wilderness Area.

Cottonmouth Snake with Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly

I’m not much on snakes–I do photograph them on occasion but don’t often post them. This one was sunning just off the boardwalk; Ted had identified him as poisonous.

Cottonmouth Snake with Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly
Cottonmouth Snake with Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly

Unfortunately I didn’t see the Damselfly until looking at the pictures on my computer.

Cottonmouth Snake with Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly
Cottonmouth Snake with Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly

If I had, we’d be looking at a closeup of the insect on those interesting scales…

Cottonmouth Snake with Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly
Cottonmouth Snake with Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly

instead of just a blip of blue on the snake.

Cottonmouth Snake with Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly
Cottonmouth Snake with Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly, Cypress Knee Blocking the View

Francis Beidler Forest, SC
July 9, 2022

Florida Softshell Turtle

I saw this Florida Softshell in Sumter, SC, which is outside the turtle’s range shown on the herpetology websites I researched.

Florida Softshell Turtle
Florida Softshell Turtle

I’d previously seen them swimming in Florida and few places in South Carolina but never laying out on land. This one dunked her head in and out of the water a few times.

Florida Softshell Turtle
Florida Softshell Turtle

These turtles have an odd “pig” looking face, not so easily seen here from my angle.

Florida Softshell Turtle
Florida Softshell Turtle

One more test of the water and he slid right into the pond.

Florida Softshell Turtle
Florida Softshell Turtle

This is probably a female:

Males measuring from 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) and females measuring double that at 11-24 inches (28-61 cm).

And this unexpected fact:

Habits: The diet of the Florida softshell turtle usually consists of snails and fish but these creatures have been known to eat waterfowl such as ducks and even small herons.

University of Georgia’s
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
https://srelherp.uga.edu/turtles/apafer.htm

Juvenile Alligators

Young Alligators often perch on their mother’s body, maybe for safety or in this case a good sun patch.

Juvenile Alligator on Mother's Back
Juvenile Alligator on Mother’s Back

Bulls Island is a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina made of a series of ancient sand dunes that run parallel to the long ocean side. Over time fresh water sloughs have formed between the dunes, home to many Alligators.

Juvenile Alligator on Mother's Back, Two Others on Bank
Juvenile Alligator on Mother’s Back, Two Others on Bank

A closer view of the two duck weed coated youngsters on the bank:

Two Juvenile Alligators on Bank
Two Juvenile Alligators on Bank

Another juvenile found his own dry spot, complete with dappled sun.

Juvenile Alligator
Juvenile Alligator

April 1, 2022

All Curled Up: Snakes

Snakes were what I saw the most of on my recent visit to Beidler Forest. I’m not a big fan, but have grown to appreciate their habits since moving to SC.

Snake, Curled Up
Snake, Curled Up

The positions they arrange themselves in are pretty interesting, including a little flare with the tail.

Snake, Curled Up
Snake, Curled Up

It was a partly cloudy day in the mid 70s (24-25C) and these three were in spots that were in and out of the sun.

Snake, Curled Up
Snake, Curled Up

Beidler Forest, SC
March 18, 2022