Hello to all of our Clean Water Raingers,

Did you know that Arkansas is home to 16 different turtle species? Two of the most common ones you will see in the Illinois River Watershed are the three-toed box turtle and the red-eared slider.

Turtle Collage

Turtle comparison

 

If you find a box turtle in the wild, please remember that it is in its natural habitat and will have a much better chance at a long and happy life if you leave it there. Box turtles are not meant to be kept in a box!

 

In the early days of the Clean Water Raingers program, Captain Marshall always showed a replica of how turtles become trapped in old fishing line or plastic six-pack rings from the trash that people leave on the shoreline. Some kids (and adults) did not believe that this type of trash could hurt a turtle, so I am sharing the true story of Peanut the Turtle.

 

Peanut the Turtle

Peanut the Turtle

 

Peanut was found in Missouri in 1993 and was taken to a zoo in St. Louis where the six-pack ring was removed. How did it happen? When she was a small turtle, she got the ring stuck on her shell. She couldn’t get it off and, over time, the majority of her shell grew, but the area around the ring did not. If this had happened to a fleshy animal like an otter, the animal probably would have died from an infection. Since Peanut’s shell protected her body, she was able to live with it, though some of her organs don’t function properly.

Peanut’s story has a happy ending because someone found her and got help. This year Peanut is celebrating her 30th birthday! She lives at a Missouri Conservation Department Nature Center, where she helps to educate visitors on the damage that litter can do to wildlife. (Peanut photo and story courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation)

 

Litter Can Harm Animals In The Wild. Clean Water Raingers Always Put Litter In Its Proper Place!

 

We have turtles at our Watershed Sanctuary in Cave Springs. The lake is empty right now while improvements are being made, so I imagine the red-eared sliders have relocated to the stream area for the summer.

One other thing before I go; May and June are busy turtle traveling months, so please watch out for them on the road.

 


 

Help us out!

We plan to fill the lake back up, but what should we name it?

Teachers, will your class be the one to submit the winning name for the lake?

This can be a great classroom assignment for the end of this school year. Visit www.irwp.org for more details. Submission deadline is June 30, 2014.

 

Related Posts:

Nature’s Classroom: Endangered Species Day

Clean Water Raingers: Let’s Hear it for Squirrels!

Nature’s Classroom: Catching a Glimpse of the Bald Eagle

Clean Water Raingers: Getting to Know Our Bats

The Blind Ozark Cavefish — A Threatened Species