Monday, December 15, 2008

A GALLERY OF TURTLES (International) pt. 1

In my ongoing tribute to my friend Luka's obsession with turtles... I thought I'd move on to some or our Chelonian friends from around the world with another list of my favorites Again, in no particular order.

01. Mata Mata (Chelys fimbriatus)

A juvenile Mata Mata blending in amongst the leaves on a flooded rain forest floor in South America

The camouflage of the Mata Mata include the cryptic shell and strangely shaped head

Many turtles that want to sit on the bottom of a shallow body of water and reach up to the surface to breath have snorkel like noses.

Diver and turtle in the shallows of a Venezuelan lake

Their unique appearances have made them sought after amongst turtle enthusiasts...

...and professional aquarists.

Their large mouths can create quite a suction when opened suddenly, to capture prey like small fish and frogs.

Another word for avoiding observation Crypsis, which this turtle attains through camouflage and moving very little.

Older Mata Matas get to be fairly large turtles, up to 33 lbs.

02. European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis)

Up close with the most widely distributed water turtle in Central and Eastern Europe

Also referred to as the European Pond Terrapin

Pond Terrapins are also found in Northern Africa and Western Asia

Terrapins may have a variety of patterns and colors across their wide range. Those in parts of Europe often have yellowish spots.

A young Pond Turtle in a... pond.

In parts of their range, they may have lovely striations.

What does this woman plan for me?

A recently hatched Pond Turtle

03. Aldabra Tortoise (Dipsochelys gigantea)

Aldabras are found on some of the islands of the Aldabra Archipelago off of the East Coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean

What are you laughing at?

Aldabras are purely herbivorous.

Also referred to as Aldabra Giant Tortoises, they are amongst the world's largest land turtles, comparable only to certain species of Galapagos Tortoises.

Aldabras are threatened from habitat disturbance and historical over collection for meat, so breed away my lovelies!

A young Tortoise the size of a football enjoys a day at the beach.

This beach is getting too crowded, I'm going home.

Aldabras are occasionally know to enter the ocean.

This unfortunate child was devoured soon after the picture was taken.

04. Big Headed Turtle (Platysteron megacephalum)

Big Headed Turtles are found in freshwater streams in SE Asia.

Their heads are so large that they cannot pull them into the shell.

Bigheads use their powerful beaks to crush the shells of snails to eat, they eat a variety of small aquatic animals

A good look at the flat shell of a young Bighead

Bigheads often curl their tails like scorpions while swimming, and use it as a prop while climbing.

Considered endangered from overcollecting for meat

Platysternon is known to be a quite gifted climber of rocks and waterfalls, and has been known to climb small trees near the streams they inhabit.

The distinct face stripe of a juvenile

A view of the plastron

5. Ornate Wood Turtle ( Rhinoclemmys pulcherima)

The Ornate is also referred to as the Central American Wood Turtle, and are found through several countries in Central America

Who's a pretty boy?

A Mexican WT(the Mexican sub species) crosses the road.

This is a generally terrestrial turtle, know for being rather active.

Their gorgeous patterns make them a popular pet turtle.

Sometimes I just don't feel like being bothered.

A view of the plastron

An exceptional pattern on a hatchling

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