Dear Yertle and Bowser
As I fed and cleaned out Yertle and Bowser’s tank today, I thought about how large they have become since the end of August. I wondered how the Summer 2010 hatchlings, who were not head-started, are doing in the wild.
So, I did a little research on-line about what happens with the turtles in the winter. Here’s the information:
The Blanding’s Turtle
While most animals who hibernate choose to do so in deep caves and underground burrows, there is a native species the prefers the bottoms of lakes, marshes and wetlands.
The Blanding’s turtle hibernates completely underwater from late October or early November until the early spring. The cold-blooded reptile only needs to burrow itself in cold, muddy bottoms to stay warm. Its metabolism also slows so little oxygen in needed and it doesn’t have to search for food. Unlike most turtles, the Blanding’s is quite happy in the cold water; on occasion it is seen slowly swimming underneath the ice in areas where they winter – like the Great Lakes.
Many Blanding’s Turtles are still active in the early winter. As winter progresses and temperatures drop they do hibernate to avoid freezing. It has been reported that Hibernation usually occurs underwater in the mud or near the entrance to a muskrat’s hovel.
Even during winter dormancy, turtles occasionally change position, and some, like the painted and Blanding’s turtles, can be seen moving slowly about under the ice.
During the winter, they hibernate by burrowing in silt on the bottom of a pond, bay, river, or other body of water to stay warm. Because they are cold-blooded they can keep body heat this way, and they don’t have to stay awake all winter looking for food.
I went down to Great Meadows on Sunday and remembered when we were there this fall and how Dr. Windmiller had the two Blanding’s turtles that live there at Great Meadows. I wondered about how Nacho and the 50 year old turtle were doing, along with the hatchlings that were released.
So, your assignment is to write a letter to Yertle and Bowser from one of the hatchlings who was not head-started. In your letter, you should include the following information:
1. specific information about the weather. You should mention temperature, wind speed, any precipitation, and what the barometric pressure is like. Use good descriptive words when describing the conditions on Sunday.
2. information about what the weight and length of the hatchling that is writing the letter.
3. Information about what the hatchling is doing at Great Meadows and what they might be eating.
4. Feelings: how does the hatchling feel being outside when Yertle and Bowser are living the life of luxury?
5. Looking forward to: What is the hatchling looking forward to showing Yertle and Bowser when they are released in the late spring
Your letter is due on WEDNESDAY and should be at least TWO paragraphs in length. Be creative and have fun with this assignment.
Make sure you do it on a word processing program first, and edit it very carefully. Also, make sure you use your NEW Erickson class number!