Snake Species of Ohio at a Glance

This post is meant as an aid to snake identification. In addition to posting photos of all the snakes, I try to point out color variations within a species, where the species is found in Ohio, and what the typical length of an adult is. I have tried to group snakes to make it easier to distinguish between similar-looking species. I focus on the visual characteristics of the snakes; for a more detailed description of the snake (its habitats, behavior, etc.), I have provided links to three sources Read more ➜

Wild Turtle with Shedding Shell

I was really surprised when I saw the turtle pictured above. First, this species of turtle, a Red-eared Slider, is not known to occur in the wild in Franklin County. Second, what on earth is wrong with its shell? Let's look at it more closely. The turtle's shell is subdivided into sections called scutes. In my photo there is a front scute that's a lighter color, almost a light brown, toward the front of the shell. It seems to be raised above the surrounding scutes. Toward the Read more ➜

Ohio’s 12 species of turtles at a glance

In the following post, I note the distinguishing characteristics of Ohio's turtle species, plus the counties in which they've been sighted. Family Emydidae Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata) If you've seen a turtle basking in the sun in Ohio, and you're wondering what kind of turtle it is, the odds are that it's a Midland Painted Turtle. This is one of the most common turtles in Ohio, plus it's easy to spot because it enjoys basking on logs or other objects Read more ➜

A lucky turtle

When I caught sight of this turtle trailing a skirt of algae, I was immediately reminded of the similar turtles that are often depicted in Asian art. In China such a turtle is supposed be one of four sacred animals: the turtle, the tiger (or kirin or rhino), the dragon, and the phoenix. The Japanese adopted the mythos surrounding the sacred turtle whom they refer to as the minogame. Not every turtle gets to become a minogame, just the lucky ones who have been blessed with long Read more ➜