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Painted (Turtle) Portrait Redux

Out with the old, and in with the new: a turtle sheds its shell.

Last June, I photographed a turtle on this exact log at Mass Audubon Wachusett Meadow. Yesterday, the turtle I saw there was shedding its shell. As a turtle grows larger, the outer portion of the shell, called the scutes, must fall off to make way for the newer, larger scutes.

About the author jmankowsky

This photo blog features the seasonal changes in nature observed in my own backyard and a variety of local environments. The Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, MA is often highlighted as a model for the positive effects a small nature preserve can have on the larger environment and the local community. Local sites of historical, cultural and recreational interest are spotlighted as well. All photographs were taken by me. Thank you so much for visiting.

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16 Comments

  1. Amazing! I have never seen a turtle shedding its shell until now. Thank you!

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    1. Me neither, till this year. I was very pleased!

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  2. Very cool capture, Julie. Best, Babsje

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    1. I always take turtle pics on the same log in the same pond, but I don’t know if it was the same turtle all this year. I aspire to your ability to know creatures individually! 😉

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      1. Turtles live a long life. If they’re territorial at all, it could be. 😊

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      2. Hmm, I think I’ll get out some older pics, and see if I can find some markings. Thanks for that tip, Babsje!

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  3. H.J. for avian101 September 13, 2021 at 8:01 PM

    Very good that you could capture a turtle molting! Excellent, Julie. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, H.J. I’ve taken lots of turtle pics, and this is my first time I caught the molting.

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  4. So cute! I didn’t know each section peeled on its own. So interesting.

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    1. I read that the shell layers are similar to material that makes up our fingernails. So much wildlife, so little time to learn!

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      1. Very cool fact. Thanks, I love learning about wildlife!

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  5. Even though I am on a blogging break, I had to look at this one, and I’m glad I did. I’ve never seen anything like it. I never knew how turtles moulted. Fascinating!

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    1. I didn’t know that about turtles, either. I spent quite a while at the pond looking at it, thinking, “Gee, that’s a funny bunch of reeds on that turtle’s back!” 😉

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  6. Wow, these are awesome shots, Julie! I knew turtles shed their shells but have never seen one in real life does it. Great sighting and documentation!!

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    1. Thanks Donna! My first seeing it, and I take pics of turtles on the pond every year. Not sure why I missed it before.
      Julie

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