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.
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)