Where Did the Painted Turtles Go this Summer?

We’ve been tracking a subset of the painted turtles at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo all summer. Now that the season is drawing to a close, I’d like to show you two examples of what the data look like from this project. In the process, you’ll get to see what these turtles did at Nature Boardwalk over “summer vacation!” (As you’ll see, they did a bit of traveling.)

First, we’ll start with Turtle P. Immediately after being released—and throughout the month of June—Turtle P spent some time exploring, going around the island and even checking out the area under the Lester E. Fisher Bridge and near the Patio at Café Brauer.

However, by July Turtle P seemed to zero in on the area around Michael’s Landing. It’s been spotted a few times contentedly basking on a log in the area, as seen in this photo by Joel Pond.

How about another turtle?

Turtle O spent most of June around the island. It was still spending a fair amount of time around the island, but in the beginning of July Turtle O began to branch out.

He was tracked to locations over by Michael’s Landing several times, like Turtle P, but he also went out to the reedy area across from Farm-in-the-Zoo Presented by John Deere. He was seen around the southern edge of the pond as well. This turtle continues to move around and was most recently tracked to a location across from the Farm-in-the-Zoo, directly under the boardwalk.

The brief story of these two turtles’ summer activities shows how these turtles all have distinct behavioral patterns, or “personalities.” Turtle P started off exploring the pond and then found a good area and stuck to that. On the other hand, Turtle O started off in a very safe area. It didn’t travel for a while, playing it safe, but then eventually began going out and exploring the pond. These two opposite strategies are the sorts of interesting things we’d never be able to know without telemetry.

Stay tuned to hear more about the painted turtles and look for them next time you visit!

Vicky Hunt

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