Our only local turtle is the Painted Turtle, but why call it that?
After all, a view of these creatures basking on a loafing log shows a carapace of gun-metal grey — hardly something that invites the appellation, painted. However, it isn’t the carapace (dorsal shell) that earns the name, but the plastron (ventral shell).
But, just try to see it.
Illustrations of the multi-coloured surface I have seen show an upside-down turtle held in a human hand. Such a view is not compatible with my watch-but-don’t-touch style of observing. Consequently, I have yet to see our turtle’s complete plastron.
Yet, now and then, one does get a peek.
Seen from the back and top, the carapace of the Painted Turtle is gunmetal grey.
However, seen from the front, when the turtle tips up, there is a hint of a variegated plastron.
When a turtle is climbing onto a loafing log, the base of its plastron reveals the appropriateness of its name: Painted Turtle.