Herpetofauna - One Life's List

Sonoran Mud Turtle
Kinosternon sonoriense

Santa Rita Mts., Arizona.  August 1st, 2000


I wasn't looking for one. I knew they could be here, but never thought I would see one.  I was scanning the bank, looking for Blacknecked Garter Snakes and Chiricahua Leopard Frogs and saw some movement out of the corner of my eye.  In several inches of water, under the bright sun, a little greenish-brown disc moved, swirling clouds of fine tan silt.  How long does it take the brain to spin through its rolodex of possibilities - half a second, maybe?  It was a hatchling Sonoran Mud Turtle.

I plucked the little guy out of the water and we took a few shots, keeping him cool with bottled water and in the shade between camera clicks.  We had come here to find rattlesnakes and came away with an unexpected gem!  I released him a few feet away from where we found him, in one of the deeper pools - I didn't want a bird or some other animal to get him, thanks to us!

It's rough habitat for these turtles - during the dry times, the creek is mostly broken stretches of shallow water, punctuated with deep pools here and there.  When it rains, it can be transformed into a violent torrent.  Nevertheless, the turtles survive, and can thrive, if a youngster is any evidence of that.

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