Friday, April 29, 2011

Who We Met Today

Walking nearly 12 miles in San Felasco Hammock today, we had some fun experiences with wildlife, only a portion of which we were able to capture in photographs. Enjoy with us the ones we photographed and are able to share.

Good Guy #1. We found him on his back and unable to right himself, perhaps flipped by wild pigs planning to make a meal of him. Once rescued and again upright, he beat a beeline for his burrow.
Bad Guy #1. This is poison oak. What more needs to be said?

Good Guy #2. This little alligator is all right with us, at least until he grows up and decides we don't belong in his territory.

Good Guy # 3 Honest, this really is another gopher tortoise, our second of the day.

Good Guy #4 Just when you were getting convinced that all gopher tortoises look alike, we present you with this juvenile, not only smaller, but more colorful than his elders.

Bad Guy #2 This little plant, often bearing pretty white flowers, is called "Tread Softly." If that doesn't tell you enough, consider its other name, "Stinging Nettles."

Thanks for joining us on our little tour of the very slow or stationary plants and wildlife encountered on our walk. Unfortunately the numerous lizards, butterflies, and birds we observed were too quick for us to capture their images.


  1. I should have mentioned that the rings around the scutes (=plstes in the shell) of the young gopher tortoise tend to represent periods of growth over the years, with rapid growth in summer and reduced growth in our mild winter. Anyhow, this juvenile appears to be no less than six years old--probably somewhat older in my estimation.

  2. Peg and Russ, you might enjoy hearing about our resident tortoise. I don't know what kind it is. Perhaps if you ever visit on the right days, you might be able to identify it for us. Each year, just about this time, we can find our tortoise friend traveling from the reservoir where it has spent its winter, to the pond across the road where it will take up summer residence. And then next fall, we'll find it making its way back to the reservoir until next year. I'll try to get some photos to send to you. -Jane Burke, Elmira, NY

  3. Jane, in the 70s we lived not far from Elmira in Mansfield, PA, where I taught biology at the state college. So, I am familiar with the area's turtle clan, and will surely be able to ID yours if you send a photo. You are probably dealing with a painted turtle, but there are a couple of other possibilities. True tortoises like the ones we saw yesterday are restricted to much warmer climates. Russ Hall