Amelia Island Plantation Blog

The Animals at Omni Amelia Island Plantation

It’s no secret that the staff at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort’s Nature Center loves their wildlife. A few of our resident critters have even been around since the Plantation first opened way back in 1972! We recently wrangled up the Nature Center’s collection for a photo op and while some were a little more cooperative than others, we were able to nab some pretty great shots. While the Nature Center features creatures of all sorts, check out some photos of our friends who weren’t shy about coming out of their shells at all. Who knew that so many different types of turtles existed? If these pictures happen to pique your curiosity, be sure to stop by the Nature Center for a tour! Each week they hold a number of “Featured Creature” hours where they’ll spotlight one of the animals and you’ll get to get up close and personal with them. Check out the schedule on our Weekly Resort Guide.

 

Baby T. – Diamondback Terrapin

Baby T.Diamondback Terrapintif


Range:
Atlantic coast of the US from Cape Cod to the Florida Keys and west along the gulf coast to Texas.

Lifespan: 25-40 years.

Size: 7.5 inches and 1.5 lbs (females); 5 inches and 0.5 lbs (males).

Food: Snails, mussels. clams, carrion, fish and worms.

Habitat: brackish marshes.

Fact: Terrapins live close to shore and tend to live in the same areas for most or all of their lives, and do not make long distance migrations. Believed to be the only turtle in the world living exclusively in brackish water habitats like tidal marshes, estuaries and lagoons. However, their preferred nesting sites are sandy beaches. They are threatened by habitat destruction, road construction and drowning in crab traps.

 

Samantha – Florida Box Turtle

IMG_Samantha Eastern Box Turtle


Range:
 Southeastern georgia and all of Florida.

Lifespan: 50 years.

Size: 4 to 7 inches.

Food: Omnivores, eating earthworms, snails, slugs, grubs, beetles, caterpillars, grasses, fallen fruit, berries, mushrooms, flowers, bread, duck weed and carrion.

Habitat: Damp environments, such as wetlands, marshlands and near swamps. Typically does not enter water deep enough to swim.

Fact: Has very sharp claws and beak used for catching small insects and eating fruits, vegetables, and fungi. Males have red eyes, females have yellow eyes.

 

Yellow Bellied Slider

IMG_Red Eared Yellow Belly


Range:
 Florida to Virgina.

Lifespan: 20-40 years.

Size: Shell of up to 16 inches.

Food: Omnivores, eating a variety of animal and plant materials in the wild including fish, crayfish, carrion, tadpoles, snails, crickets, wax worms, aquatic insects and numerous aquatic plant species.

Habitat: Calm water where they are able to leave the water easily.

Fact: As the name implies, the plastron (bottom of shell) is mostly yellow with black spots along the edges. adult males tend to grow darker as they age.

 

Pinkerton – Eastern Mud Turtle

IMG_Pinkerton Mud Turtle


Range:
 New York to southern Florida and as far west as Indiana.

Lifespan: 20-25 years.

Size: 3 to 4 inches.

Food: Omnivores, eating small fish, insects, plants, and carrion.

Habitat: Fresh or brackish water, including marshes, small ponds, wet ditches fields and offshore islands.

Fact: During hot, dry periods, they burrow underground in the mud along the water’s edge. They can remain underground for more than a year during prolonged drought conditions.

 

Clyde – Eastern Box Turtle

IMG_Clyde Eastern Box Turtle


Range:
 Maine to Florida, west to Kansas, oklahoma and Texas.

Lifespan: 50 years.

Size: 4 to 7 inches.

Food: Omnivores, eating earthworms, snails, slugs, grubs,beetles, caterpillars, grasses, fallen fruit, berries, mushrooms, flowers, bread, duck weed and carrion.

Habitat: Mixed forested regions and grasslands.

Fact: Box turtles are slow crawlers, extremely long lived, slow to mature, and have relatively few offspring per year.

 

Gophina – Gopher Tortoise

IMG_Gophina Gopher Tortoise


Range:
Southern California to Louisiana

Lifespan: 80 years

Size: 15 inches.

Food: Grasses, mushrooms, saw palmetto berries, and prickly pear cactus pads, fruits and flowers, as well as blackberries, blueberries, gopher apples and other low-growing fruits.

Habitat: Relatively deep, sandy, soils. They thrive in sand dunes and even longleaf pine forests.

Fact: They are considered a keystone species because they dig deep burrows for shelter and share them with more than 350 other species in their range, including snakes, rabbits, frogs, and burrowing owls. The burrows can vary from 9-52 feet long and 9-23 feet deep.

 

Red Eared Slider

redneck_lr


Range:
 Mississippi River and the gulf of Mexico.

Lifespan: 20-30 years.

Size: Shell of up to 30 inches.

Food: Omnivores, eating a variety of animal and plant materials in the wild including fish, crayfish, carrion, tadpoles, snails, crickets, wax worms, aquatic insects and numerous aquatic plant species.

Habitat: Calm water where they are able to leave the water easily.

Fact: The most popular pet turtle in the US due to its easy maintenance, it has also become the most commonly traded turtle in the world. Named for the small red dash around their ears. The “slider” part of their name comes from their ability to slide off rocks and logs and into the water quickly.

 

Flapjack – Softshell Turtle

FlapJack Softshell Turtle

Range:
 Alabama to South Carolina, including all of Florida except the Florida Keys.

Lifespan: 30 years

Size: Females up to 24 inches long and males only 12 inches long.

Food: Carnivorous, eating aquatic insects, fish, and amphibians.

Habitat: Slow-moving bodies of fresh water with mud or sand bottoms.

Fact: Adults are brownish-green or tan with blotches on their skin. Their shells are covered with skin, soft around the edges and have no scutes, leading to the name Softshell Turtle.

 

 

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