Q: I know you usually work with plants but I was hoping you might help me identify the turtles I see on logs within the Egan’s Creek wildlife preserve behind my subdivision.
A: As luck would have it, I was searching for invasive plants at Egan’s Creek Greenway a few days ago and noticed dozens of turtles sliding of the logs once I got nearby. This phenomenon of sliding off logs is precisely where the turtle gets its name – Yellow-belled sliders, Trachemys scripta scripta. The turtle is indigenous to northern Florida.
Pond sliders are aquatic and rarely leave the water unless they are basking on logs but they quickly dive into the water when startled. Pond sliders are omnivorous generalists, which means they feed on plants and animals. Adult turtles prefer plants more than young turtles, but both will eat aquatic insects, fish, frog eggs, and tadpoles when the opportunity presents itself. Although they prefer quiet waters, these turtles can tolerate brackish waters, manmade canals, and even city park ponds.