New Painted Turtles at Nature Boardwalk

Yesterday morning, eight new painted turtles were introduced to the pond at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo with the help of kids from zoo Conservation Camp as well as generous Nature Boardwalk supporters, including representatives from ArcelorMittal.

The kids tipped plastic containers holding the turtles into the water so the reptiles could swim off and find their perfect place in the pond. Most of the turtles made a beeline for the pond’s center, but some stuck around the release site for a while, checking out their surroundings.

These eight painted turtles join the group that was released into the pond last September. Several of the last batch sported transmitters that have allowed zoo scientists to learn how these little guys use the pond. (Want to see how we track them? Stop by the Peoples Gas Education Pavilion at 1 p.m. for a daily demonstration. You can also experience it at home with our Tracking Painted Turtles interactive.)

From last year’s experience, we expect the new painted turtles to be particularly active in the first few days to weeks after introduction. This is a time of exploration. After this wandering period, the turtles will settle down and find a favorite hangout. All the turtles except one from last year seem to prefer hanging out around the island; the one prefers the Café Brauer side of the pond.

Since the island is such a popular spot, we expect the new batch of turtles to hang out there too, but we’ll have to track them to be sure! Five of the new turtles are equipped with transmitters, enabling us to once again follow their travels throughout the pond.

Painted turtles are called “painted” because they have beautiful red, orange and yellow markings along the sides of their shells and on their skin. The boardwalk is certainly a colorful place this time of year!

Vicky Hunt

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