April 13, 2007

I cannot fathom the mind of the turtle.

turtles

What's with them standing so close together they're forced to bend their heads up like that? They have enough room to space out and hold their heads at a more natural angle. Yet they're all doing it, even the one in front who must be imagining the back end of a turtle. I cannot fathom the mind of the turtle. Life must be so different there on that log... which is in a little pond on the grounds of the University of Texas... near these waterlilies...

waterlilies

12 comments:

Eli Blake said...

Maybe you can't fathom the mind of a turtle, but you can now fathom the mind of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It turns out that it is just A BIG CHICKEN.

Finger lickin' good, too I'll wager!

Andy said...

It appears (based on the lighting in your photo) that the turtles are just basking in the sun; turtles tend to stretch out their necks while basking so as to maximize their exposed surface area.

They're in a group because an exposed turtle is a vulnerable turtle, so staying in a group means they have a better chance of spotting an approaching predator (such as a gator).

BTW, they appear to be some type of box turtle- I'm guessing Gulf Coast Box turtles (Terrapene carolina major) but I'd need close-up photos of their necks and eyes to be sure.

P.S. Here's one more recommendation to be sure to sample Smith Street cuisine in Brooklyn. And while you're there, I'd also recommend photoblogging the various gardens in Carroll Gardens as well.

Synova said...

They are almost certainly red eared sliders. Box turtles are terrestrial and have a shell that's more of a dome. These are swimmers.

They are in a group because they all want to fit in the sun. As turtles aren't social, I doubt they have a "better in a group" take on predator prevention.

Considering that they spend a great deal of time underwater with their nose above the surface, it's probably the most natural and comfortable feeling position for them.

Synova said...

Okay, some turtles are social, but I've never noticed pond turtles to be together *except* to get the best basking spot.

Kevin L. Connors said...

LOL. The first essay we were asked to write in the third grade involved envisioning ourselves as whatever animal we'd like to be. I responded that the task was impossible, as I had no frame of reference, other than that of a human being.

Ken said...

I wouldn't spend too much time trying to Fathom the mind of a turtle, there's not much there. The two in the front appear to be Elegant Sliders. I think the one on the back is a Painted Turtle. I suppose that basking in the sun feels good to the simple mind of a turtle, but they get a couple of good effects from doing it. First, it helps to kill off algae. Second, sunlight gets coverted to vitamin D, which helps keep their bones and shells strong.Stretching out their necks helps them with both benefits.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's a a huge enlargement of the photo, if you want to inspect the details.

Kevin: The task is not impossible. The question is not how well would the actual experience work out, but what you envision, which is from the human experience.

Personally, I'd pick a bird. I'd want to fly. Yet it's also rather easy to imagine that for a bird, flying is no big deal. A bird would need to be insane to get thrilled by flying.

Omaha1 said...

The basking behavior also aids in the turtles' digestion. As cold-blooded creatures, they use the sun's warmth to raise their body temperatures to an optimal level, which hastens the absorption of nutrients from their food intake. If you Google "basking turtles" images, they almost always have their necks stretched out like that. Not sure what that does for them but there is probably a simple explanation.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Certainly you've heard the joke about how turtles are holding up the earth?

It's turtles, turtles, turtles all the way down!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Omaha1: I believe I prefer Baskin Robbins.

Andy said...

Synova-

Great call- as Ann's enlarged image makes clear, the first two are definitely red-eared sliders.

Kevin L. Connors said...

Ann:

Personally, I'd pick a bird...

I think Richard Bach already has that one covered. ;)