These turtles like fresh water, not salt water.
This is a post to make up for the long and maybe not so exciting recap of he lumens article that proceeded this one. Maybe too many pictures. But I can’t seem to figure out which ones to eliminate, because, most of them are good ones,Sooooooooooooooooo.
There are a lot of turtles in the Russian River. There are at least three types, all of them liking fresh water and not salt water. So, there aren’t any turtles in the saltier part of the estuary, like down at Jenner, as they don’t like the salt water. I’ve only seen a turtle down by Penny Island twice and it was a time of a lot of winter fresh water coming down the river to turn the estuary mostly fresh water. When the fresh water flow slows, the salt comes back into the estuary and the turtles disappear in this area. Turtles can start to be seen just above the Cassini Ranch Ripple, or just above where Austin Creek enters the river. From there lots of turtles can be seen, mostly on logs and trees along the sides of the river.
Three kinds in the river.
I’m not too good on identifying turtles, but from what I understand, we have Pond turtles, Painted turtles and a big one called Slicers that are rather rare. The Pond and Painted ones are very common. The larges one I’ve seen is called a Slider. It was about fourteen inches long in the shell. I haven’t seen any of these for several years now and don’t have any pictures of them.
I did spot this big Painted one above Korbel’s crossing a couple of years ago. Pictures of turtles make all turtles look the same size, as usually there isn’t much to reference to in the picture. Most of our turtles are six to eight inches, some smaller and some bigger. But this big guy was about a foot long across the shell and we do have a reference. See that cormorant. If you know how big one of those are, you can see that this is a big turtle. It’s the only one of it’s kind I’ve seen this big. The next size I’ve seen down would be around eight inches. If you look closely, you can see that the turtle is starting to shed it’s shell. See the up right platelets?
See how this turtle’s shell is peeling back. Ever wonder why you never see old turtle shells around much, from shedding? I thought they came off in one piece, but I discovered they come off in little plates. Looks like the up raised plates would make for some added protection too. They look sharp.
If you don’t see turtles on the river, you aren’t looking. Sometimes I’ll ask someone coming down the river in a boat if they’ve seen any turtles. If they say no, I know they haven’t been paying attention to what’s on the river. Maybe they were just having too much fun.