The two painted Turtles sunning on a log in Willow Creek today tell another story about spring along Lakeshore Path. Being exothermic (cold blooded), as other reptiles, they depend on their environment to increase their internal body temperatures and increase the rate of their body functions, such as digestion and egg development. On the right photo (click to enlarge) you can see that each foot has five claws. They are longer on males than females. The reason for the elongated claws on male turtles is for stroking the female's chin during courtship.
Even though Painted Turtles hatch from their eggs in September, the turtle hatchlings do not emerge from the nest until the following spring. Baby Painted Turtles do not head to the water and spend the winter at the bottom of ponds as other young turtles do. Instead, they "freeze solid" withstanding temperatures as cold as -10°C under the layer of sand and snow. They produce natural antifreeze that prevents the cells from freezing and becoming damaged. Thus, only the water out outside of the cells is actually frozen. (From: painted Turtle Research in Algonquin Prov. Park)
I'm passionate about the Preserve. Gisela Kutzbach and contributors