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MI Press: Find a painted turtle

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Thu Aug 16 08:20:01 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

FREE PRESS (Detroit, Michigan) 12 August 07 At Home: Find a painted turtle (Patricia Chargot)
It's never a good idea to remove an animal from its natural habitat and make it a pet.
For starters, it might not be able to adapt and could get sick and even die.
That said, there's no better way to learn about an animal than by observing it closely in captivity. So some science educators say it's OK to catch some species, as long as you keep them briefly.
"I think every kid ought to keep a painted turtle and garter snake for a couple of weeks in summer," said Jim Harding, a herpetology -- amphibian and reptile -- instructor and researcher at Michigan State University.
Painted turtles and garter snakes are common throughout the Great Lakes region and probably live in your area. Both animals are easy and safe to catch. Just make sure that you catch the right species!
(There are 18 other Michigan snakes listed on the state Department of Natural Resources Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr. Also, four of the state's 10 turtle species -- wood, spotted, Eastern box and Blanding's turtles -- are completely protected; it's illegal to remove them, even briefly.)
Take along an adult and a good field guide, such as "Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region" by James H. Harding. (That's Jim!)
"Feed a painted turtle bits of dark lettuce, aquatic vegetation or commercial turtle food," Jim said. "Feed a garter snake earthworms -- that's the easiest thing."
Learn as much as you can about your painted turtle or snake. Record your observations in a journal, and draw the animal or take its picture.
After a few days or a week -- two weeks at most -- return the animal to its natural habitat. Release it exactly where you found it.
Find a painted turtle


   

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