Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seeing Red - Terrapene Ornata Ornata

Lingering effects of rainstorms two days ago still oblige Llano Estacado reptilians to traverse the prairie in search of sustenance. It’s been a thrill to share several mornings with an unexpectedly fleet-footed and feisty Ornate Box Turtle. I’ve dubbed him The Hulk. This twelve to thirteen-year-old mature male has a greenish head and claws. The moderate early autumn temperatures suit this ectotherm’s foraging activities. He is an omnivore.

Cooper and I cannot resist interrupting the terrapin’s daylight forays. We have the same inquisitive nature. The Hulk’s first reaction is to slip back into the safety of his armored mobile home--his fortified castle--and raise the hinged plastron (lower shell). He is as curious as we are and plays peek-a-boo to gauge the threat level. I persist in coaxing him into action. I scratch at his carapace (upper shell) and he emerges. Forget the image of a short-legged, lumbering land turtle. The Hulk displays astonishing agility in navigating the matted prairie straw. He responds with short hisses and snaps his rigid beak in defiance of every attempt to lift him off the ground. His red eyes glare with irritation and annoyance at our unwelcome intrusion--he sees red.

I snap a few images and we part ways.

© Ilija Lukić 2011

The Hulk

Seeing Red

Surfing The Sea Of Straw

Welcome To My World

Defensive Tuck

Ornate Peek-A-Boo

Let's Rock-N-Roll

Terrapene Ornata Ornata

Life In The Fast Lane

Combat Crawl

1 comment:

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