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I was walking through the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve on their boardwalk and happened to see and photograph this group of 7 turtles sunning themselves on a log in Otter Pond. The other picture is of a Softshell Turtle on a raft in Gator Lake in the preserve. Turtles are cold blooded reptiles who cannot regulate their body temperatures by moving around like mammals so they are often seen lying along the banks of rivers, ponds and swamps trying to soak up the suns rays. The turtle on the wooden raft is a Softshell Turtle and the ones standing on the log look like Red Bellied Cooter’s. Turtles feed on vegetation in their habitat along with small fish, insects, and crustaceans. Their predators include alligators, raccoons, foxes and skunks. The juvenile turtles can also be fed upon by raptors such as eagles and hawks.
Turtles such as the Red Bellied Cooter’s can submerge into water and breathe through gill like structures near their mouths. They can also breathe through their mouths. The Six Mile Slough Preserve is a fun place to see wildlife that includes a variety of birds, river otters, alligators, turtles and other small animals. The slough is a slow moving swamp which moves rainwater and storm water through a labyrinth of Cypress Trees, plants and low lying land which helps to clean our water resources and provide a home for all kinds of wildlife. Lee County manages the preserve and gives tours of the slough which is well worth the time. They also have a nature center with exhibits. The Florida Museum of Natural History contains a list of pictures and descriptions of Florida turtles.