Consider this a quick smack upon the brow of Saturday’s journey to the family farm.
While there, we visited a neighbor (in the rural sense, meaning someone quite a distance away). Her grandson has saved some local wildlife from certain doom (one having been found while “mowing the yard” and subsequently having been rescued).
Keep in mind the farm rests quite near the bayou. That remains the single most important reason so much wildlife thrives in the area: the availability and accessibility of a major, natural, fresh water system.
Anyway, here’s what we found while helping out a local friend.
Three of these were rescued.
This one, I think, is a male (having seen its tail in detail, although I might be wrong).
The method I used to differentiate it from its two siblings doesn’t apply given the clarification on the species. Its gender therefore remains a mystery. But when you’re that cute, does it really matter?
No matter the similarities and regional occupancy, I believe this to be a western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta belli).
As Sven pointed out, this is actually a “hatchling river cooter (Pseudemys concinna).” I don’t know how I missed that species while trying to identify the little rascal.
While East Texas is well outside its normal range (so far as I can tell), this tiny master of curiosity resembles only one species of this reptile. The others (eastern, midland, and southern) all fail to describe its marvelous coloring and style.
It does resemble the western painted turtle. But closer inspection and comparison with photos of the river cooter make clear Sven’s da man for knowing his reptiles.
That’s my hand it’s resting upon. But resting doesn’t describe it, methinks, for this turtle spent the entire time in my grip by marching about looking for the best vantage point. Each time it reached the edge of my skin, it stopped, lifted its head to look about, and consumed with minuscule eyes all that could be seen.
That one should give you a bit of scale. Remember that’s my hand. To call this creature petite would be to understate things, at least in human terms.
But curious? Indeed! I’d call it that with even the simplest of comparisons with the word. All he wanted to do was get into position to look, to observe.
The fourth discovery, the one saved from the mower, was this three-toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis).
While I didn’t capture any presentable images other than this one, you need only look at the larger version of that picture to appreciate its size. The largest picture shows the depth of what it’s eating. That’s a piece of lettuce. Look at the leaf’s thickness in comparison to the turtle’s head if you want to fully appreciate how small it was.
[Update] I modified a few bits based on Sven’s comments. See, I only read the brochure but that didn’t make me an expert! I’m always happy for someone to give the real answers if they have them. And now you see why nature is a hobby and not a career; I’d be dirt poor!