In the Arboretum you'll occasionally see a turtle or two sunning themselves on the sides of the creek. There are actually quite a few turtles in the creek. Really any permanent pond or stream in Davis has a lot of turtles in it, and if you know what to look for you'll probably spot them. The cool-looking stubby ones with the tails are the native Western Pond Turtles, and the more commonly seen stripey ones are the prolific and invasive Red-Eared Sliders. They will hiss at you and are pretty ornery little bastages.

According to the California Department of Fish and Game range maps, these two turtle species are the only turtle species found in Yolo County. The native Western Pond Turtles are found in all parts of Yolo County, whereas the invasive red-eared sliders are only documented along Putah Creek in Davis and Prospect Slough south of Davis.

Many of the Arboretum's turtle residents are actually former pets of the Red-Eared Slider variety. On a fairly annual basis, Professor Brad Schaffer, a Herpetologist in the Evolution and Ecology program, traps out the non-native turtles. If you would like to adopt one and will promise never to release it back to the wild, contact his lab. A study by the Schaffer lab has a discovered a sizable population of native Western Pond Turtles too, but the presence of rapidly growing non-native competition and the lack of dispersal sites puts into question the viability of population. Here's a paper on the topic:

Maybe someone could start catching and selling or eating the Red-Eared Sliders?


Mystery turtles on a sunken branch in the Arboretum (2/26/05) Native Western Pond Turtle along the side of the creek in the Arboretum (2/26/05) Invasive Red Eared Sliders at West Pond


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2011-05-13 02:47:09   Has anyone else accidentally caught a turtle going for carp in the Arboretum? —CarlosOverstreet