I had pet turtles as a kid. I think I still like them although I don't have them as pets any more. The biggest obstacle to having turtles for pets is that they live a long time. And if given enough room, they can grow to be quite large.
Nowadays, I have to settle for taking pictures of turtles. I usually find them in small groups on rocks basking in the sun. But they're kind of jumpy and more often than not dive in to the water as I approach. My zoom lens came in handy for the following pictures. The first two shots were taken in Rockefeller State Park. I hid behind some large rocks while simultaneously steadying the zoom lens on the rocks.
The NY Times wrote a wonderful article on turtles recently. Here are some of the interesting facts I gleaned from the article.
- Some turtles can go without food and water for months at a time.
- The strongest of turtle shells can withstand the impact of stampeding wildebeests.
- Turtle are live longer than any other creature on this planet surviving for centuries in some cases. Don't believe it? Check out these two recent news stories:
- In March 2006, a giant tortoise named Adwaita died in a Calcutta zoo after reportedly living for 250 years old.
- Shortly after in June 2006 Harriet, a tortoise from the Galapagos, died in the Australia Zoo at age 176.
- Researchers have recently been surprised to discover that unlike every other animal studied, a turtle's organs do not gradually break down or become less efficient over time.
- According to Dr. Raxworthy, “If turtles didn't get eaten, crushed by an automobile or fall prey to a disease they might just live indefinitely.”
- The history of turtles and tortoises extends back 230 million years or more. They might even predating other reptiles such as snakes, crocodiles, and even the dinosaurs.
- Box turtles and some others that live in forests can determine the location of a lake or other body of water a mile away. It's possible they do this by detecting polarized light reflecting off of the surface of the water.
- Female sea turtles migrate across entire oceans every breeding season and without fail find their way right back to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs.