Yellow-bellied Sliders were taking advantage of the sun on a recent walk around a pond, positioning themselves on anything sticking out of the water. They had traveled through duck weed and other pond vegetation to get to the coveted spots.
I don’t think the vegetation does a thing to protect the turtles. Alligators, the apex predator in this pond, follows his prey by motion and is himself camouflaged by the same pond covering.
The smallest turtle I saw added a leg extension to his pose, probably needing a little balance to stay on the pointed rock.
Different Position for me, that is. This was taken about 15 minutes before and standing ten or so feet closer on the path than yesterday’s post of the Alligator Ramp. The two Alligators and group of turtles hadn’t moved much when that first photo was taken.
The change in the sun and my angle created a completely different look of the reflections in the water.
The turtles are the most likely to be seen sharing space with other creatures around the swamp and ponds. They crave the sun just like the alligators on this reptile ramp and don’t show any fear in the presence of an alligator that could easily eat them.
Wading birds like this Great Egret like a sunny spot, too, and easily find a spot in between the turtles on a nearby ramp.
I don’t know what this “foot in the air” display from the turtle just to the right of the egret is all about, but a little further along in another small pond I saw it again, with both hind feet straight out.
There aren’t many wading birds around my favorite swamp right now but I still like to walk around it at least once a week and I always see something. Sunday it was reptiles. We have had some cold weather but Sunday was in the low 70s (about 21 degrees C) and turtles, lizards and alligators were out soaking up the sun.
Turtles were crawling out of the water. They often just move onto the bank of the swamp making it easy to retreat. This one was more ambitious and got a completely dry spot.
The Brown Anole did a nice job selecting his wooden perch for camouflage and full sun. When I passed he disappeared down a crack in the middle of this dead stump.
The Alligators care little about being seen. Usually they can sink and swim many feet away in seconds if they feel the need to escape. The dead tree limbs this one was in between might have slowed him down if a real predator was after him. He was content with this spot; he hadn’t moved when I returned by him twenty minutes later.
Everybody had a spot, at least for a minute. The younger Alligators shift around more than the big adults, maybe because they are used to getting pushed off the platform by their elders. Or a big turtle.
At the other end of the pond I found another pair posing, being watched by a third in the water.
This is the first group seen from the side, with a yet another Alligator climbing on the ramp for a spot in the sun. The duck weed was clinging to them all.
On Sunday I posted photos of turtles posing on an Alligator ramp and logs to sun themselves out of the water. Yesterday in the same spot an Alligator was using a turtle as a head rest and more turtles were clambering to join the group.
Further along in a different pond a similar activity was taking place with a much larger Alligator, only this time the turtles were on top.
Do they have no suspicion that they might be lunch?
We returned by this spot about an hour and a half later to find the Alligator had changed position but at least one free-loader was still in place.
The nature guide at Magnolia Garden identifies these turtles as Yellow-bellied Sliders.