Sunday, February 27, 2011

Turtles of the Fuqua Conservatory and Orchid Center, Part 1

Visitors to the Atlanta Botanical Garden are often surprised to learn there are so many turtles living in the 'Gardens Under Glass' — the conservatory and orchid center. The turtles, frogs, salamanders and birds in the conservatory create a natural feeling inside, while reminding us that all living things — plants and animals alike — need each other in order to survive.

A Red-eared slider and an Eastern painted turtle basking in the OC.

There are 7 species of turtle and you can find them in every room in the conservatory (Tropical rotunda, High elevation house and Low elevation house)

Rhinoclemmys, Central American box turtles live in the front of the rotunda and have (over the last 5 years or so) Had one baby Rhino ... the smallest and most colorful of the 4 turtles you might find.

And lastly, (as this is only part one) we have Pink-belly side-neck turtles in the OC pond. Side-neck turtles represent a large group of turtles, restricted to the southern hemisphere, that can not pull their heads inside their shells (like all of the turtles found in GA, for example)

Emydura subglubosa, basking in the orchid center (OC)
Here is a picture of all 3 of our side neck turtles basking in their pond. Next time you are here, notice their yellow head markings and salmon colored plastron (belly shell). A very beautiful turtle.

Next time, we will see what is lurking under the bridge in the rainforest!