I found this guy in the middle of a hiking trail at Sunol Regional Park, CA. I thought he might be a tortoise but apparently there aren’t any tortoises native to this area. Do you know what he is?
The others were taken the same day while they were sunning on a branch in a pond. They are probably drying out their neck creases, but I like to think they are practicing the “Upward facing turtle” pose in yoga.
Joanne Smith, Union City, CA.
It’s a Western pond turtle, our only native California aquatic turtle. Getting harder and harder to find them these days. Listed as a species of special concern, due to declining habitat and competition from non-native pet red-neck slider turtles that get dumped in local streams and lakes when their human owners get tired of caring for them.
These definitely look like they’re doing the Upward Facing Turtle to me. /Gary