Surprises that come with the rain

We all love sunny days.  Everything is pretty, you can do all type of outdoor activities, but, we’ve got to face it: without rain, we would not have all the green we have at Tranquilo Bay year round, and associated with that, all the diversity that comes with it.  Well, all this explanation in order to tell you about a little inhabitant of the rain forest, the mud turtles!

Mud Turtle Panama

The Kinosternon genus is only found in the Americas.  With 25 species, it has one of the highest numbers of species for mud turtles, and from those, three are found in Panama. These turtles are small animals in comparison to other fresh water turtles.  They have an oval shape shell, usually dark brown, which helps to camouflage themselves.  A particular characteristic of this genus is the presence of one or two “hinges” in their plastron (bottom part of the shell),  This adaptation allows them to close themselves completely to keep them safe from most predators.

They are often found in ponds and other habitats associated with calm fresh water and a muddy soft bottom. They feed on a variety of things, being mostly carnivorous, but sometimes they eat fruits and/or plants.  Some mud turtles can burrow themselves in to the mud or underneath dead leaves during times of drought, and stay “semi-dormant,” until the rain comes.

At Tranquilo Bay, we usually get to see one of these after a strong rain, sometimes crossing the side-walk, moving from one temporary creek to other, or just there, with their head sticking out, like enjoying the rain.

Mud Turtle Panama

One thought on “Surprises that come with the rain

  1. Hey Natalia,
    It must have rained hard after we left because we missed these critters up close. It was a great trip and I will never forget it! Burr

Leave a Reply