Basking at the Boardwalk

Humans aren’t the only ones enjoying the warm, sunny fall weather we’ve been having at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Today there were three painted turtles basking on the partially submerged branches around the pond’s island. If you look closely, you can see that the one turtle photographed is taking in the sun and stretching out his back legs.

You can also see that this turtle is one of five equipped with a transmitter. The transmitter allows us to track that turtle as it moves throughout the pond. Even though we track turtles twice a day and record their locations, we ever actually see the turtles, so this was quite exciting.

How does tracking work? The transmitter sends a radio signal that is picked up by a receiver, and we use that signal to triangulate the turtle’s position. We generally can’t see the turtles because they are underwater or shielded from view. (There are five painted turtles in the pond that do not have transmitters because they were too small to accommodate them. The other two turtles I saw today were in this group.)

Be sure to come over to Nature Boardwalk and enjoy this nice weather, just like the painted turtles!

Vicky Hunt

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