Species of the Week: The Blanding’s Turtle

IMG_5020Our species this week is quite recognizable. Sporting a yellow chin and neck, the Blanding’s Turtle is easily identified — however, they are rarely seen. In fact, Blanding’s Turtles spend most of their time underwater and out of sight. Fittingly, it was a thrill to find this turtle near a wetland at the entrance to Fallows Campground earlier this summer! Their habitat ranges from shallow lakes and marshes to streams, and rivers, sometimes extending three kilometres between their summer, winter, and nesting sites. Since Murphys Point hosts a diverse network of wetland environments, it is the perfect home for Blanding’s Turtles. Hopefully, you get the chance to admire a Blanding’s Turtle up close, maybe while helping it to cross the road safely. Who knows, you might even be lucky enough to stumble upon a Blanding’s Turtle nesting site, like our Store Clerk who sees the same female laying eggs each Spring! Interestingly, Blanding’s Turtles do not usually lay eggs until they reach 20-25 years of age, often breeding for the rest of their lifetime — which can be over 75 years!

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Birchbark Basket-Making Workshop

Basket Making Workshop-revised

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Species of the Week: The Tardigrade

Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 2.22.07 PMFor this species of the week, we’re going into the tiny world of micro-animals! Tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are less than half a millimeter long and live their lives in the thin films of water clinging to mosses and lichens. Claws at the end of each of their eight stumpy legs allow them to move around to feed on plant matter and bacteria. Surprisingly, these tiny creatures are actually some of the toughest in the animal kingdom: when their environment dries up they enter an inactive state called cryptobiosis. In this state, they can survive for decades, and can withstand intense radiation, extreme temperatures, and even the vacuum of space! Murphys Point is home to hundreds of billions of these little animals. Strictly speaking, tardigrades aren’t a species but a group containing over one thousand species. The ones featured in these photos may be from the genus Ramazzottius.

Posted in Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week