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 Post subject: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 4th, 2011, 10:52 pm 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 7:43 am
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Location: kaukauna, wi
for some reason, i was thinking that i have yet to see a post with a bog turtle. lots of spotteds, but no bogs. are they that rare?

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 5:01 am 
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Location: NE Ohio
They certainly aren't easy to find and are getting harder to find. Definitely a species that is deserving of it's Federal listing. I tried a few years ago unsuccessfully. Also, most of the Bog Turtlers that were on this forum rarely post, and even more rarely post Bog Turtles. Probably for good reason too.

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 7:18 am 

Joined: June 17th, 2010, 4:51 am
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Location: CT
Bog turtles are definitely rare. They are also secretive so they are hard to find. And many bog turtle sites are on private property with very limited access. Poaching is still a very real threat, so some people, myself included, do not think it is ethical to post pictures of the turtles themselves or their habitats on a public forum where there is a chance that harm can come from it.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 8:25 am 
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I'm going to pose a question to make a point, and it might tick off a lot of people, but just think about it...

What do you mean by "rare"? People toss that word around as if it has a well known definition. Do you mean 1 Bog turtle per 10 square miles of habitat? 1 bog turtle per 5 square miles of habitat? That would certainly make it rare. However, I doubt they would be able to breed if they were that rare...So, in occupied habitat, how many bog turtles are there per acre, per hectare, per square mile? Does anyone know? Or, are they soooo secretive that researchers just guess at the numbers and call them "rare"?

I really dislike the word "rare" as applied to herps. there are NO rare U.S. herps, or they wouldn't be able to survive at all, and would instead be "extinct."

So, what does the word rare really mean? And, would the words "secretive", "low density", "scattered populations" and "rarely seen" give a more accurate assessment of the situation?

For example, the SF garter is an Endangered species, but it is not rare. They live in moderately high numbers where they are found.

I just get really tired of words that are more suited to antiques and plants, that do not apply to reptiles, being tossed around so carelessly. :)


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 9:00 am 
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Brian Hubbs wrote:
I'm going to pose a question to make a point, and it might tick off a lot of people, but just think about it...

What do you mean by "rare"? People toss that word around as if it has a well known definition. Do you mean 1 Bog turtle per 10 square miles of habitat? 1 bog turtle per 5 square miles of habitat? That would certainly make it rare. However, I doubt they would be able to breed if they were that rare...So, in occupied habitat, how many bog turtles are there per acre, per hectare, per square mile? Does anyone know? Or, are they soooo secretive that researchers just guess at the numbers and call them "rare"?

I really dislike the word "rare" as applied to herps. there are NO rare U.S. herps, or they wouldn't be able to survive at all, and would instead be "extinct."

So, what does the word rare really mean? And, would the words "secretive", "low density", "scattered populations" and "rarely seen" give a more accurate assessment of the situation?

For example, the SF garter is an Endangered species, but it is not rare. They live in moderately high numbers where they are found.

I just get really tired of words that are more suited to antiques and plants, that do not apply to reptiles, being tossed around so carelessly. :)


Some turtles can be "rare". Due to their longevity single individuals can persist long after the population as a whole has become non-viable. I see this with box turtles and gopher tortoises in parts of Central FL.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 9:12 am 
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Plus.... Even if they are not 'rare' by your definition (total population size), they can be endangered, threatened, or vulnerable for a variety of reasons. Small 'effective population size' (Look it up ;) ), restricted distribution (i.e. endemism), over-harvest, limited dispersal abilities (related to habitat fragmentation), etc...

There are a LOT of other reasons for protecting species other than their over-all population size. Assessing vulnerability is an important part of species management.

-Chris

P.s. Hubbs, are you making a trip to ND this year?


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 10:08 am 
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i'd imagine that they are vulnerable due to habitat loss. poaching doesn't help either. blandings turtles are protected here in wisconsin, but where they are, i think they are doing fine. unfortunately wetland destruction has put them as a sensitive species. i'm guessing the same hold true for bogs.

i get the fact that postings might be detrimental, but with a bit of discretion, i don't think it would be a bad thing. close-ups tell nothing other than "it's a bog turtle".

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 10:16 am 
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Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
muskiemagnet wrote:
i get the fact that postings might be detrimental, but with a bit of discretion, i don't think it would be a bad thing. close-ups tell nothing other than "it's a bog turtle".


This has been my line of thought as well. Can anyone give a reason why posting a close in shot could be detrimental?

Bog Turtles have been posted in the past, a lot of times they are not named, to make the post harder to search for.

Curtis


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 11:01 am 

Joined: August 30th, 2010, 10:39 am
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Location: East Coast
Alright, I'll bite. The best way to answer your question is to give you some insight on the large differential equation that is bog turtling.

1. I would say that good bog turtle habitat is rare when compared to historical levels- at least where I help study them in PA and MD. We're talking about one of the most populated parts of the country, and populated means altered ecology. The decline of this species started 400 years ago when we killed all of the beavers and started daming/ building mills on all of the rivers and streams. We've dramatically changed the hydrology of most of the piedmont since. Basically doing that got rid of a large majority of good mucky wetlands that make up good bog turtle habitat. We've only continued to alter these habitats as our population has grown. Now it only takes about 15 minutes with a back hoe and a load of stone to ditch out and drain a wetland- I've seen it done a few times. Without any good figures to site, I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of the pre-colonial bog turtle habitat has been altered. What remains is up against human pressure, as well as natural succession from things like red maples, etc.

2. Over 99% of bog turtle habitat in my region is on private land. It becomes something of a benefit cost analysis for most that find out they have a bog turtle situation on their land. Again, we're talking about a quickly developing area where farms are being sold for top dollar. Very often land owners and/or developers see bog turtles as a hassle, especially when you consider that you have to start letting THE MAN root around your property. In fact, I would say good relationships between the agencies and land owners is the most important part of bog turtle conservation right now.

3. Red Tape. It takes a lot to get your hands on a Federally listed species. Often there is a strict permitting process, which frequently involves signing a confidentiality waiver upon going to a new site. Different states have different licenses/ permits. This gets compounded when you realize that not all land is created equal. PA is a commonwealth, so the rules- say a wetland buffer zone- alter from township to township. In MD some counties have a 25 ft buffer zone, where others have a 300 ft buffer zone. That can have a big impact in terms of how the land owner wants to treat the land, develop the land, etc. The point is, it takes a sort of perfect storm of conditions to find good habitat as well as be allowed to go searching.

4. THREATENED BOG TURTLES. Although subtle, these few words allude to terrible conditions for photography. Because they're threatened, the priority is data. Most ecologists are being paid to get measurements and data, not photographs. They're also a little turtle living in habitat that makes them insanely hard to find even in a robust population. The best example I know for the phrase "needle in a hay stack". I probably average about 10-30 hours of searching for each turtle I find, depending on the population. Combine that with the fact that they're turtles- you're hands are always covered in mud while you're knee deep in muck... even if you can set up a good shot, it might just seem like a bad idea to take a camera out (very often the case).

So I don't know if I'd call them rare. If they are, they shouldn't be, even if they are difficult to find in their habitat. If they have the habitat and human support they're an extremely hardy turtle. If not, I guess they're rare. Regardless, they can be a bitch to get a decent picture of. I'll dig some out and post in the next day or two.

-Will


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 11:06 am 
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Hubbs make a very valid point. This is not only true in the US but worldwide. Dean Rippa wrote a very interesting piece called degenerated science that addressed this very topic in a detailed manor.

Quote:
Some turtles can be "rare". Due to their longevity single individuals can persist long after the population as a whole has become non-viable. I see this with box turtles and gopher tortoises in parts of Central FL.

In the case of box turtles and gopher tortoises. Locally "rare" maybe but that still does not make the word rare apply to the species as a whole. Very common species can be rare under certain circumstances. To many times the word rare just gets thrown out for dramatic effect without clarification.

Quote:
Assessing vulnerability is an important part of species management.

More to the point. Accurately assessing vulnerability is an important part of species management. The lack of accurately assessing a species vulnerability in favor of the precautionary principle or in some cases using statistics from areas where a species was never common to mark an overall decline can be very misleading.

With the word rare being subjective. Currently Bog turtles are not a rare species. Its hard to find rare animals, sometimes its hard to find relatively common animals. Bog turtles are not hard to find.


ERNIE EISON


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 11:10 am 

Joined: August 30th, 2010, 10:39 am
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Location: East Coast
Quote:
Bog turtles are not hard to find


I would say they are not rare, but VERY hard to find.

-Will


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 12:51 pm 
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will lattea wrote:
Quote:
Bog turtles are not hard to find


I would say they are not rare, but VERY hard to find.

-Will


I agree. Will, thanks for chiming in.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 1:33 pm 

Joined: August 30th, 2010, 10:39 am
Posts: 156
Location: East Coast
All of this being said, I would encourage everyone to get out and find out how you can help out your local agencies with volunteer conservation work. Most of these folks are strapped for cash and appreciate all the help they can get. If you look online, I'm sure you'll find plenty of opportunities. Not to mention it's the only legit way to work with certain animals, such as those that are federally listed. If you're going to put the time in, and I suggest you do, do it in a pro-active manner.

Here is an adult female from a study site...
Image

...and a male we found courting her.
Image

-Will


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 1:40 pm 
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Quote:
I would say they are not rare, but VERY hard to find.


Again its a matter of subjectivity. To me VERY hard does not equate only to the physical labor in finding a species but to the regularity its found. Bog turtles are found on a regular basis's.

If you can measure the time required to find an individual in hours, to me thats not a hard find. Pain in the ass for sure. It might entail a lot of physical work but you can still find the target species with a good degree of certainty within a relatively short time span. This in contrast to what I consider hard species that might take weeks or months maybe years to locate.If you can find one at all.As pointed out hard to find doe not have to mean rare, endangered , declining in numbers etc. It could mean just that......hard to find.

ERNIE EISON


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 4:06 pm 

Joined: August 30th, 2010, 10:39 am
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:beer:


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 4:34 pm 
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What an insightful thread, indeed. Here in the Boerne are, there are several species which are probably very numerous, yet almost never seen. Our entire area is honeycombed with deep fissured limestone, a paradise for secretive reptiles. For example, despite near-perfect creekside habitat, we've only seen two Eastern Blackneck Garter snakes in the last five years.

Forum regular Saunders recently turned up a Texas Night Snake on the ranch-fat and healthy, yet that species has never before been found here, despite multiple experienced herpers looking constantly for more than a decade!


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 5:16 pm 
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Actually Brad, it wasn't me who found it, Connor was the one to flip it.
But yes, she was very healthy... and hungry.
Image


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 6:52 pm 
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Quote:
More to the point. Accurately assessing vulnerability is an important part of species management. The lack of accurately assessing a species vulnerability in favor of the precautionary principle or in some cases using statistics from areas where a species was never common to mark an overall decline can be very misleading.

With the word rare being subjective. Currently Bog turtles are not a rare species. Its hard to find rare animals, sometimes its hard to find relatively common animals. Bog turtles are not hard to find.


ERNIE EISON



What do you propose we do then? We will NEVER have 'perfect' or 'complete' data for assessing vulnerability! The collection of such information is far too expensive / time consuming (this is a fact of life for biologists working in the 'real' world). Conservation science is a crisis discipline that attempts to conserve resources in an imperfect world using imperfect data. If we sit around and twiddle our thumbs until we are 100% sure of management options, it will be too late to save species.

-Chris

"If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and failure memorable." -E.O. Wilson


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 7:29 pm 

Joined: July 20th, 2010, 8:43 pm
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WSTREPS wrote:
Quote:
I would say they are not rare, but VERY hard to find.


Again its a matter of subjectivity. To me VERY hard does not equate only to the physical labor in finding a species but to the regularity its found. Bog turtles are found on a regular basis's.

If you can measure the time required to find an individual in hours, to me thats not a hard find. Pain in the ass for sure. It might entail a lot of physical work but you can still find the target species with a good degree of certainty within a relatively short time span. This in contrast to what I consider hard species that might take weeks or months maybe years to locate.If you can find one at all.As pointed out hard to find doe not have to mean rare, endangered , declining in numbers etc. It could mean just that......hard to find.

ERNIE EISON



What exactly would you consider "hard species" then if bog turtle isn't one?

-Corey


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 7:32 pm 
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I spent two or three days in prime Bog Turtle real estate, with 2 excellent Bog Turtle surveyors a few years ago with nothing but 2 Snappers and a a heart-stopping baby Painted Turtle to show for it.

I would call it a hard to find turtle.

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 5th, 2011, 11:19 pm 
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wow, i never would have thought that i'd get an argument going. usually i am the one stirring the coals. :) :) :)


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 4:32 am 
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Actually, I'm really enjoying this. It's good conversation and debate so far.

I looked in bog habitat the other day. Turns out it is a closed study site. I didn't know, but the fed patrolling the area told me so. Oops. To make a long story short, I found nine spotted turtles, a snapper, and two boxies on the edge of the habitat, but no bogs. But they are there for sure. I'm no expert, but that's some of my most notable boggy experience. Some of the spotteds were spot-less, really giving me an adrenaline rush for a few seconds. Check out this post if you want to see the turtles. (It's a long post, but they're buried in there somewhere.)

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5951


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 4:37 am 
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Thought some of you might like to see this The Bog Turtle Glyptemys muhlenbergii A Natural History by Tom Bloomer it's a good Read if your into bog turtles http://www.snakeawareness.com/bogturtle/bogturtle.pdf and i'll be sure to let tom know about this post


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 6:04 am 
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Quote:
What exactly would you consider "hard species" then if bog turtle isn't one?

-Corey


How about Florida Worm Lizard???


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 6:37 am 
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They're certainly rare in some of the southern portions of their range, regardless of your definition of "rare".

Image


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 2:47 pm 
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Quote:
I spent two or three days in prime Bog Turtle real estate, with 2 excellent Bog Turtle surveyors a few years ago with nothing but 2 Snappers and a a heart-stopping baby Painted Turtle to show for it.

I would call it a hard to find turtle.

Andy


Ok what made this location "prime Bog Turtle real estate?" Because it had all the typical trade marks associated with prime Bog Turtle habitat or because it was known to harbor a good population of bog turtles. Appearances can be deceiving prime might not be so prime. If it was a known hot spot that would mean a number of turtles had previously been collected there. For an area to produce a number of a given species they cant be hard to find. Again hard being a subjective word. Many not so hard to find species can be hard to find depending on the season, location and other variables. Overall conditions play a huge role in how easy or hard it can be to find an animal.

Also your saying you were with two excellent Bog Turtle surveyors. What made them excellent? They must have seen a lot of bog turtles. Being successful at locating their target species. Can anyone see a lot of a species that is actually hard to find? Sometimes hard can become not so hard when you figure out the how's and where's.

True story. I could a hardly find wood turtles growing up and I looked in a lot of prime (to me) habitats. They were "hard" to find. So I thought. A friend of mine found roughly three hundred in a couple days in another part of the range. For him in his spots. Not so hard to find. Now are wood turtles hard or easy to find? Depends on where you are and who you are. I'm not saying that anyone could find three hundred bog turtles in a few days. But I'm sure some places are far better then others especially at the right time. Some people are a lot better at locating them then others.

I always read things like this ..."Poaching is still a very real threat." Now if these animals are so elusive and hard to find how can poaching be a very real threat?



Quote:
Conservation science is a crisis discipline that attempts to conserve resources in an imperfect world using imperfect data. If we sit around and twiddle our thumbs until we are 100% sure of management options, it will be too late to save species.
Oh well then just do the best you can. My question is.... Too late to save what species? Ones that might not really need saving at the moment while ones that really are in jeopardy get ignored? There's plenty of that going around. Should we just chalk that up to being an acceptable bi-product of using imperfect data in an imperfect world? But that's another topic.


Quote:
What exactly would you consider "hard species" then if bog turtle isn't one?

-Corey

That depends on what exactly you mean by hard. Its all goes in degrees. Hard compared to catching something that you can get hundreds a day of....like softshell turtles or compared to catching something that you can only get a few a week in good times. Like bushmasters. With reptiles. Im not sure. The overall numbers found would probably be my first consideration. Borneo earless monitor. Lanthanotus borneensis I think is at the top of my list. Granted this is an extreme example.Still it all goes back to frequency of findings. Bog turtles are found fairly frequently.


ERNIE EISON


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 3:43 pm 
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From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Rare: seldom occurring or found.

How many bog turtles need to be left before they should be considered rare? The total number left is probably similar to some of the "rarest" animals on the planet. Just because a species may be locally common does not mean it is not a rare species. And there are few areas where this species could be considered locally common, some of the southern most locations may single digit animals left.

spinifer wrote:
Quote:
What exactly would you consider "hard species" then if bog turtle isn't one?
-Corey

How about Florida Worm Lizard???


Rhineura is not seldom occurring within its range but is very hard to find indeed.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 3:46 pm 

Joined: July 20th, 2010, 8:43 pm
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Comparing turtles in the US to vipers in the tropics is like comparing apples and oranges. Is someone were to say ok you only have x number of days to catch as many of this species of turtle. Of North American turtles, the bog turtle would be amongst the hardest to find, probably the hardest.

-Corey


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 3:52 pm 

Joined: July 7th, 2010, 11:08 am
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Just because an animal is hard to find does not negate the seriousness of being poached. It is a fact they sell for >$1000 on the right market. Some populations can really hurt from losing a few adult turtles considering the low recruitment/sexual maturity age in many turtle species. I think to answer the question that has been posed I would say: why risk it? Why post a picture of a bog turtle on a public forum like this and take the risk? You saw the turtle and that's all that matters. Most people that find them have been invited to a study site or are a biologist, therefore they either A. do not have permission to post or B. Do not feel the need. The few that find them just "herping" risk being questioned and ridiculed considering their status and the fact that someone already posted: most occur on private land.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 6:01 pm 
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Ernie, do you just want people to say everything is relative and nothing means anything?

I can do that.

Relative to finding Painted Turtles, Bog Turtles are hard to find. Relative to finding living Triceratops, Bog Turtles are easy to find. The previous two sentences mean nothing and talking about any relative abundances of species with anything other than CENSUS numbers mean nothing.

Blah.

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 6:13 pm 
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WSTREPS wrote:
Ok what made this location "prime Bog Turtle real estate?" Because it had all the typical trade marks associated with prime Bog Turtle habitat or because it was known to harbor a good population of bog turtles.

Also your saying you were with two excellent Bog Turtle surveyors. What made them excellent?

ERNIE EISON



if i ever decide to describe something based on my own judgment, i'll make sure to check with you first.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 8:13 pm 
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Quote:
How many bog turtles need to be left before they should be considered rare? The total number left is probably similar to some of the "rarest" animals on the planet.

How many bog turtles are left now? Some of the "rarest" animals on the planet might not be all that rare it all depends on who's doing the book keeping. Bog turtles are found on a regular basis in numerous locations across a wide range. Granted an accompanying disclaimer that the animals are not found in high numbers and are in small fragmented populations might be legitimately made. The fact still remains that if anyone wants to argue from the standpoint that these animals are hard to find. Then it stands to reason that the actual numbers present in a given area or across the entire range might be substantially higher then suspected. This might even be the most likely scenario.

What other rarest animal in the world does this compare to?


Quote:
Just because a species may be locally common does not mean it is not a rare species. And there are few areas where this species could be considered locally common, some of the southern most locations may single digit animals left.
Actually it does. A truly rare species is never common. Anywhere. As for your
hypothetical estimation that some of the southern most locations may only have single digit animals left. It goes back to this....... using statistics from areas where a species was never common to mark an overall decline can be very misleading. Locally "rare" does not make the word rare apply to the species as a whole. A common species that is rare in certain localities is still a common species. Its just not common everywhere. It always goes back to the numbers game. What number do we want to put on what category and how are these numbers arrived at. What are the accuracy of these numbers? Who's keeping score?

Quote:
Just because an animal is hard to find does not negate the seriousness of being poached. It is a fact they sell for >$1000 on the right market. Some populations can really hurt from losing a few adult turtles considering the low recruitment/sexual maturity age in many turtle species.


Not entirely but it certainly limits the threat. If you cant catch them you cant poach them. The rest is the common argument but its also one that really doesn't hold true in a healthy sustainable turtle population. In that case. Losing a few adults means nothing. On the other hand if a turtle population is so small that it can be really hurt by losing just a few individuals and by the other issues raised...in the long run with few exceptions its already doomed. And that brings me back to the original point. From what some are saying. Bog turtles are very hard to find even in the best places. If these animals are so difficult to find. What are the chances of a poacher finding even a few turtles. In a population that is so small and has so few adults it cant sustain the loss of only a couple animals?

Quote:
Comparing turtles in the US to vipers in the tropics is like comparing apples and oranges. Is someone were to say ok you only have x number of days to catch as many of this species of turtle. Of North American turtles, the bog turtle would be amongst the hardest to find, probably the hardest.

-Corey

No, it was apples to apples based on what was said previously. I made a statement, you quoted that statement then in response you asked "What exactly would you consider "hard species" then if bog turtle isn't one?" Now you want to narrow the parameters of the question after the fact to just these animals in this place?

My comments clearly were never specific to North American turtles and nether was your question as stated. My answer was given as your question read based on the difficulty of finding a given species. How the word "hard" applies to collection of the species. Bog turtles are hard to find compared to softshell turtles but easy to find compared to the Borneo earless monitor. That leaves a whole lot of in between but the bottom line is bog turtles are found fairly frequently.

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Ernie, do you just want people to say everything is relative and nothing means anything?

Examining why and how something is relative puts it into perspective. Without putting things into a clear perspective nothing means anything. Except the IRS.


Quote:
if i ever decide to describe something based on my own judgment, i'll make sure to check with you first.-ben


Why the smart comment ben? What's your problem with the questions I asked. A general statement relevant to the topic was made and I asked for some clarification of that statement. Along with that I added my own take. What was said, was said in fairly concise manor. A constructive post as opposed to............why did you butt in with that silly comment? Maybe you do need to check with someone first.


ERNIE EISON


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 10:16 pm 
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i'm done. thanks hubbs!


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 10:39 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 5:44 pm
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Bog turtles are pretty common if you know where to look. I find a lot of turtles in bogs and some of them have spots. What's the big deal? Some people, I'll tell you they rationalize everything.

Shane


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 7th, 2011, 6:12 am 
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As mentioned... 'rare' is highly subjective. I know of populations of Gopher Tortoises where you can see up to 9 or more individuals per hectare. Now... if you can see 9 animals you have to figure there are way more than that which actually live there. I keep hearing how boxies are becoming rare. Go out road cruising after a spring rain throughout its range... see how rare they are.

Finally... check out the historical data on the Bog Turtle... you can't help but notice how the range keeps getting extended. When I first developed an interest in the turtle it was found in NJ... then PA... then MD... then TN... then GA... you get the idea.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 7th, 2011, 7:10 am 
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WSTREPS wrote:
Quote:
A truly rare species is never common. Anywhere.


Golden Toads were not only common, but downright abundant, in that little puddle in Monteverde two years before they went extinct. They were a rare species that was locally common in a tiny area. If you can argue that that makes them not "truly rare" you might as well drop the word from the dictionary.

I do understand your point that "rare" can be overused or misused, but I don't necessarily agree that that is the case with Bog Turtles. "Rare" and "locally common" are not mutually exclusive terms. In fact I would argue that practically all "rare" species are common somewhere, even if it is a very small area. If you are reserving the term "rare" for species that exist in such low densities throughout their entire range that there are no viable populations left, then "rare" is just a synonym for "functionally extinct." What I have heard from people in the know is that Bog Turtles, in healthy habitat in NJ, can be pretty common. However, when you consider how specific their habitat requirements are, and the vast stretches of similar but unsuitable habitat where other species of turtles are common (plus all the former habitat where they are no longer found because of collecting or unknown reasons), it's really hard to make an argument for them being "common."

Now, saying Bog Turtles aren't hard to find? Come on, now, that's just being contrary. Anyone can play that game.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 7th, 2011, 7:25 am 
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-EJ wrote:
I keep hearing how boxies are becoming rare. Go out road cruising after a spring rain throughout its range... see how rare they are.

Finally... check out the historical data on the Bog Turtle... you can't help but notice how the range keeps getting extended. When I first developed an interest in the turtle it was found in NJ... then PA... then MD... then TN... then GA... you get the idea.


Box Turtles have a pretty wide range. You must do a TON of road cruising!! Box Turtles are disappearing from my area, and that is a fact whether you call them common, uncommon, rare, melancholy, flatulent, or Mortimer.

Bog Turtles were first described in PA. As for the range "getting extended," that has to do with people finding populations, not the turtles getting more common. Who says a species can't be wide-ranging AND rare? Plus, there are historical areas that they have disappeared from. Explain that.

This fight is silly. You know where the term "rare" is most egregiously misused? Chain steakhouses. I can't begin to tell you how many times I go to Ruby Tuesday's or Applebee's and my "rare" or "medium rare" NY Strip comes out totally gray and overdone.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 7th, 2011, 8:07 am 
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The use of the terms "rare" or "common" often has more to do with personal agendas than true population status.

    Environmentalist wanting to preserve a habitat = "That species very rare."
    Land owner wanting to use or sell his land = "Those things are common as dirt."
    Bureaucrat wanting to avoid the hard work of regulating take = "They are too rare to allow any use" OR "They are too common to require any regulation"
    Researcher wanting funding = "Those might be rare. More study is needed."
    Hobby collector wanting a trophy specimen or two = "This species is common enough that taking one or two can't hurt."
    Same hobby collector bragging about his recently acquired trophies = "These are extremely rare."
    Commercial collector wanting to harvest = "If I can find them, they must not be rare."
    Commercial collector wanting to sell = "Very few people can find these, they are very rare."
    Inbred moron = "Shucks, them's real common. I used to kill 'em by the hunerds. Ain't seen none lately."


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 7th, 2011, 8:30 am 
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cbernz wrote:
WSTREPS wrote:
Quote:
A truly rare species is never common. Anywhere.


Golden Toads were not only common, but downright abundant, in that little puddle in Monteverde two years before they went extinct. They were a rare species that was locally common in a tiny area. If you can argue that that makes them not "truly rare" you might as well drop the word from the dictionary.

I do understand your point that "rare" can be overused or misused, but I don't necessarily agree that that is the case with Bog Turtles. "Rare" and "locally common" are not mutually exclusive terms. In fact I would argue that practically all "rare" species are common somewhere, even if it is a very small area. If you are reserving the term "rare" for species that exist in such low densities throughout their entire range that there are no viable populations left, then "rare" is just a synonym for "functionally extinct." What I have heard from people in the know is that Bog Turtles, in healthy habitat in NJ, can be pretty common. However, when you consider how specific their habitat requirements are, and the vast stretches of similar but unsuitable habitat where other species of turtles are common (plus all the former habitat where they are no longer found because of collecting or unknown reasons), it's really hard to make an argument for them being "common."

Now, saying Bog Turtles aren't hard to find? Come on, now, that's just being contrary. Anyone can play that game.


You hit the nail on the head.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 9th, 2011, 3:47 pm 
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Quote:
Golden Toads were not only common, but downright abundant, in that little puddle in Monteverde two years before they went extinct. They were a rare species that was locally common in a tiny area. If you can argue that that makes them not "truly rare" you might as well drop the word from the dictionary.

Now we are back to relevant and subjective, why its important to try and put things into perspective, What makes an animal "rare." Total population size not just population density. When these toads were abundant how many were there? When and where were they found in their highest numbers. When your talking about small amphibian's. Common species number in the millions not a few thousand. Golden toads might have had a high population density in a specific area at specific time but their total population was never known to be large or widespread. When kept in a proper perspective goldens were never a common toad.

Quote:
What I have heard from people in the know is that Bog Turtles, in healthy habitat in NJ, can be pretty common.

And how do these people know that their common in these places?


ERNIE EISON


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 9th, 2011, 8:15 pm 
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WSTREPS wrote:
Now we are back to relevant and subjective, why its important to try and put things into perspective, What makes an animal "rare." Total population size not just population density. When these toads were abundant how many were there? When and where were they found in their highest numbers. When your talking about small amphibian's. Common species number in the millions not a few thousand. Golden toads might have had a high population density in a specific area at specific time but their total population was never known to be large or widespread. When kept in a proper perspective goldens were never a common toad.


That, in a very large nutshell, is my point.

WSTREPS wrote:
And how do these people know that their common in these places?


Because they are trained biologists who have surveyed bog turtles over a long period. How do you know that garter snakes are really common? How do you know that your friend found 300 wood turtles? How do you know that "truly rare species are never common," yet " very common species can be rare under certain circumstances"? You know what? I have decided that I don't like the word "common." If one can argue that no species are "rare" because they can be found easily in some cases, then I can argue that no species is "common" because one can always find a situation where they are hard to find. I never, ever see Red-backed Salamanders at the beach. Nor do I see them in Florida, Costa Rica, or on my roof. They are not common. I also never hear of people finding European Starlings in the ocean. That's two thirds of the earth's surface, completely devoid of Starlings. I also never find them under rocks or tin. Definitely not common.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 9th, 2011, 8:28 pm 
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WSTREPS wrote:
And how do these people know that their common in these places?

Because they are trained biologists who have surveyed bog turtles over a long period. How do you know that garter snakes are really common? How do you know that your friend found 300 wood turtles? How do you know that "truly rare species are never common," yet " very common species can be rare under certain circumstances"? You know what? I have decided that I don't like the word "common." If one can argue that no species are "rare" because they can be found easily in some cases, then I can argue that no species is "common" because one can always find a situation where they are hard to find. I never, ever see Red-backed Salamanders at the beach. Nor do I see them in Florida, Costa Rica, or on my roof. They are not common. I also never hear of people finding European Starlings in the ocean. That's two thirds of the earth's surface, completely devoid of Starlings. I also never find them under rocks or tin. Definitely not common.



:thumb: :thumb:

I only know of one truly 'common' species and it is in need of serious population management! ;) I always love seeing an airplane fly over when I am hiking in remote areas.... Can't get away from them pesky Homo sapiens....

-Chris


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 9th, 2011, 8:38 pm 
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This really makes no sense.

Within populations in their established habitat(note I didn't say range)... some herps are very common. Bottom line... 'common/rare' is a very relative term.

cbernz wrote:
Because they are trained biologists who have surveyed bog turtles over a long period. How do you know that garter snakes are really common? How do you know that your friend found 300 wood turtles? How do you know that "truly rare species are never common," yet " very common species can be rare under certain circumstances"? You know what? I have decided that I don't like the word "common." If one can argue that no species are "rare" because they can be found easily in some cases, then I can argue that no species is "common" because one can always find a situation where they are hard to find. I never, ever see Red-backed Salamanders at the beach. Nor do I see them in Florida, Costa Rica, or on my roof. They are not common. I also never hear of people finding European Starlings in the ocean. That's two thirds of the earth's surface, completely devoid of Starlings. I also never find them under rocks or tin. Definitely not common.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 10th, 2011, 4:35 am 
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EJ, that is exactly my point. "Common" and "rare" ARE relative terms, but that doesn't make either one of them obsolete. I think some other people already made this same point earlier in the thread.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 10th, 2011, 11:02 am 
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Read the Recovery Plan (http://www.fws.gov/northeast/nyfo/es/bogturtle.pdf).

I think it's worth pointing out that even if a species is locally common, if the overall trend, as well as anyone can figure out, is towards falling numbers and habitat destruction/fragmentation so that it looks like with no intervention the species could go extinct, then it is good to raise the 'rare' flag and work to turn the trend around.

Will L. did a good job of summing up the problems that bog turtles face. I recall comments Carl Ernst made at a Lancaster Herp Society meeting (Lancaster PA sits in sort of the bog turtle heartland) about how many of his old study sites and other bog turtle sites that he knew of are now gone - drained for crop fields or housing developments. Looking at it as a current snap shot it can be hard to gain perspective on how the trend is moving, so these longer-term perspectives can be useful.

As for why you don't see more of them on FHF, I can share my experience. I recently visited a Nature Conservancy bog turtle site to write an article (look for it an about a month in Grid - http://www.gridphilly.com). I can't refer to the site any more specifically than to say "Southeast Pennsylvania" and have to run the photos and the text describing the location by TNC so they can be sure that I'm not accidentally identifying the site. I am allowed to blog about, but frankly I'm a little wary to post a thread with photos here (this motivates me to ask - if they say it's okay I'll post). That's because federal, state, and local wildlife protection agencies keep an eye on forums, probably justified given that we've learned that some folks who have popped up here turned out to be poachers (there have been threads on this in the Northeast subforum). However legit what I'm doing is, I don't want to do anything to allow any rumors to get circulating, and posting bog turtles on FHF might be enough to get me noticed in the wrong ways.

Billy


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 10th, 2011, 5:17 pm 

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Remember with these turtles the survey season is short which makes finding new populations tough in conjuction with monitoring healthy sites.

I like Will's reasoning and I like Eby's post as well.

The word rare gets thrown around alot and is a great word to attach to an animal to gain traction for a cause. I hear many people say something is rare and lots of time its completely unjustified or something they heard someone else say. I can't say if bog turtles are rare because I've never seen one and I don't look because of there federal protection status. I will say that this species is one where I truely don't think biologists know the full picture and I think certain habitats could hold populations of them, maybe large, that haven't EVER been surveyed, I was basically told as much by a bog turtle biologist. I use to think many species were 'rare' and now think they are uncommon or some other word, but using 'rare' at the time was a mechanism to cover up my inability at finding something. I know folks who herp the same plot of land as me and will say a species is 'rare' while I say they are common. At the end of the day finding bog turtles is a skill and one which not everyone is good at. Certain surveyors are good and find the species easily, others are walking idiots and would step on five before seeing them.

In regards to poaching, I was told that they can't be poached out because they are too hard to find, however NJ localities have been poached out and is well documented. 10 years later or so bog turtles aren't showing up where they were once found in handfuls during a days search.....so I've been told.

I will say that a animals behavior makes them hard to find but not neccesarily 'rare'. Scarlet snakes are hard to find in my state but not rare, they simple are above ground much and our weather doesn't draw them up like say Florida.

Lastly anyone who has worked with studying a species may realize that we really know so little about all our species. We like to think we know everything from behavior to habitat to all their localities but we really know very little. It takes so much time and money to figure it all out. I my state in the last 5 years between a couple buddies I think we have probably found a dozen new locations for various species that apparently weren't every recorded.....and I live in a very densely populated often herped state.

In regards to a photo giving away some piece of info I have strong opinions on this. In short IMO there is no benefit to posting photos of some species and often times the folks studying bog turtles posting implies they aren't trustworthy, feel the need to brag and who knows what that will lead to. I've had volunteers for studying some species and find it to be a true test, if a photo ends up on a forum after I asked not to post I realize its all about them and realize that they don't get it. Some people wouldn't even herp without these forums, 'its all about them'......sorry done rambling.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 11th, 2011, 9:09 am 
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Quote:
Because they are trained biologists who have surveyed bog 6[*]pnturtles over a long period. How do you know that garter snakes are really common? How do you know that your friend found 300 wood turtles? How do you know that "truly rare species are never common," yet " very common species can be rare under certain circumstances"?
Ok...........

Quote:
Because they are trained biologists who have surveyed bog turtles over a long period.

Then how do these guys know their common? What are their reasons for saying that bog turtles are common?

Quote:
How do you know that garter snakes are really common?
By the numbers mjfound and the relative frequency they are found during times of activity.

Quote:
How do you know that "truly rare species are never common," yet "very common species can be rare under certain circumstances"?

Basically, This statement would be based on the total number of animals found, how frequently their found and over what range they are found. Then these perimeters have to be put in to perspective with regard to other animals in their class. Like the golden toad deal. Bottom line if something is truly rare it is never common. This in contrast to very common species being rare under certain circumstances.

Quote:
How do you know that your friend found 300 wood turtles?

I think that was VERY well documented. Maybe Dick Bartlett might want to start another thread about that. Then again probably not. The last time he did we learned a lot more about Dick then we did about the turtles, most of it was stuff he wished nobody knew.

Eby's post, yeeaaah......just another of his uninformed ramblings not based in fact or personal experience. Its just what sounds good to him. at the moment. As much imagination as truth. Eby did the same thing during the infamous "Wood Turtle Thread." A bit of empty talking head commentary. Tossed in for his own personal amusment.Its not like he could add anything about the animals, their status or thier collection.

Quote:
Concerning poaching, I was told that they can't be poached out because they are too hard to find, however NJ localities have been poached out and is well documented. 10 years later or so bog turtles aren't showing up where they were once found in handfuls during a days search.....so I've been told.

They cant be poached out if their "hard to find." But if they were being found in handfuls during a days search. They couldn't have been too hard to find.

Like most of these tales. I suspect some of these well documented accounts are both gross exaggerations and not entirely accurate in terms of what really happened. It could be true to a point.But ................sometimes the "facts" don't always fit the cough "documentation" or tell the complete story of what happened .

ERNIE EISON


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 11th, 2011, 7:15 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:01 pm
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are the viable populatios in "BOGS"......in fact.....how vdoes a habitat qualify to be a "BOG"......i attended a college in se pa.....and in 1969 i took a field zoo course.....we walked a cow pasture that had a clear flowing stream through it causing slight bflooding in some parts of the pasture.....we found more than a dozen of these rare turtles......in fact one is in the preserved collection of that institution........the pasture was a major xroads.......aint a pasture no more.......those turtles are.....GONE.......t wont say no more.....but i do remember reading somewhere that the "BOG" is the end of the succession cycle and at that point the turtles begin to disperse to more suitable areas.......but i really dont know nuttin.... :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 12th, 2011, 4:38 am 
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I think I just read the same thing (or similar) in the Hulse book yesterday.


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 Post subject: Re: bog turtles? just a question.
PostPosted: May 12th, 2011, 9:43 pm 
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Gees some of y'all need to read up some ecology and keep in mind the various factors that play into a species being "rare"


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