Those who look closely might think that this Eastern Painted Turtle had opened vents in its shell to let out the summer heat. But no; it’s just growing. This six-inch turtle is shedding its outer layer of bone plates (“scutes”) as new, larger ones grow underneath.

 Image info: Nikon D-180; Nikkor 200-400mm, f/4 zoom lens at 400mm; f/13; 1/160 sec.; ISO 250.

Image info: Nikon D-180; Nikkor 200-400mm, f/4 zoom lens at 400mm; f/13; 1/160 sec.; ISO 250.

That shell protects the reptile against virtually all predators except humans. Painted Turtles in the wild (such as this one in our pond) can live up to 55 years. (Brooklin, Maine)

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