First Report on the Economic Features of Turtles of Pennsylvania...

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Harrisburg publishing Company, 1908 - Reptiles - 196 pages
 

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Page 109 - Which strike ev'n eyes incurious ; but each moss, Each shell, each crawling insect, holds a rank, Important in the plan of Him who framed This scale of beings; holds a rank which lost Would break the chain, and leave behind a gap Which nature's self would rue.
Page 124 - ... are like scissors. Holbrook says that it will sometimes leap up and give a loud hiss. He further states that it is very voracious, feeding on fish and such reptiles as it can secure, and is so greedy that it takes the hook readily when baited with any substance whatever. Yet he had never known them to take food in captivity, even after several months. They swim with great rapidity, and often conceal themselves in the mud, buried two or three inches deep, leaving only a small breathing hole for...
Page 127 - ... courageous. When attacked they neither attempt to retreat nor retire passively into their shells, as do most turtles. The jaws are opened, the head and long neck are suddenly thrust out, and at the same moment the animal leaps forward toward its tormentor. If the aim has been correct, the jaws close on the enemy and the hold is doggedly retained. It is a curious notion held by many people that, when it has once secured a hold, it will not let loose until it has thundered. It will sometimes permit...
Page 110 - TESTUDINATA. (THE TURTLES.) Reptiles with the body enclosed between 2 more or less developed bony shields, which are usually covered by horny epidermal plates, but sometimes by a leathery skin. Upper shield (carapace) and lower shield (plastron) more or less united along the sides.
Page 120 - This specie?, like all the soft shelled turtles, is wholly aquatic, since they leave the water only on rare occasions. They delight to remain about the roots of trees which have fallen into the water or in drifts of timber. Here they can watch for prey and not be observed by any supposed enemy. Away from such means of concealment they are accustomed to bury themselves completely in the sand, leaving only their heads exposed. Since their heads do not differ much in color from the sand it is difficult...
Page 143 - ... myself by measurement of specimens in the National Museum and in my own collection. The head is, however, variable in relative size in different individuals of the same sex. Moreover, it will be found, I think, that the males average considerably smaller in size than do the females. HABITS. — This is an eminently aquatic tortoise, spending its life in rivers, lakes and ponds, and coming out of the water only to bask in the sun on some rock or fallen tree, or to deposit its eggs. The food of...
Page 120 - ... stomachs. Max. Von Wied (103, xxii, 53) says that LeSueur found in their stomachs worms, snails, fruits, and even hard nuts. If there are potatoes growing near the water the turtles find their way to them and devour the stems, of which they are very fond. The eggs are spherical in form, about seven-eights of an inch in diameter, and have a thick, but brittle, calcareous shell. They are deposited in the sand on the shores of the rivers where the adults live. The young are flatter and more nearly...
Page 143 - ... observed were filled with the bulbs of a sedge. In some cases, however, it was found to have eaten crayfishes. The eggs are large, being an inch and a half in the longest and an inch in the shortest diameter. According to Agassiz this species deposits its eggs earlier in the season than any others of our turtles. At Natchez, Miss. , one was found to have laid her eggs as early as the first of June. It may here be stated that Agassiz concluded that our fresh-water turtles do not lay eggs before...
Page 155 - ... of its strictly aquatic mode of life and its excessive timidity. It appears to prefer to abide in ponds, pools, and the sluggish parts of our streams. In such places it may be often seen lying with its fellows on some fallen tree-trunk or on some projecting stone, basking in the sunshine. The senses of sight and hearing appear to be acute, for it easily takes alarm and tumbles into the water and disappears. It is then often to be found buried in the mud close to where it entered the water. It...
Page 143 - ... this species deposits its eggs earlier in the season than any others of our turtles. At Natchez, Miss., one was found to have laid her eggs as early as the first of June. It may here be stated that Agassiz concluded that our fresh-water turtles do not lay eggs before the eleventh or fourteenth year. This species does not appear to be employed to any considerable extent as food, yet there seems to be no reason why its flesh should not be as savory as that of many species which are highly esteemed.

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