"Little green turtle"

"Little green turtle"

Red-eared slider

Red-eared slider

Q: “I came across this turtle in the Cincinnati area; could you tell me what species it is?”  Celeste Baumgartner, Butler Rural Electric Cooperative

A: The turtle isn’t one I’m familiar with, Celeste, so for positive identification I forwarded your photo to Greg Lipps, the amphibian and reptile conservation coordinator at The Ohio State University in Columbus. (Lipps also just happens to be a member of Tricounty Rural Electric Cooperative.) He said, “A view of the head markings would help, but from what I can tell this appears to be a slider turtle.”

If it’s a red-eared slider, it’s the “little green turtle” that was sold for years at pet stores, only grown to adult size. More common in southern states, a few isolated populations of sliders live in Ohio, either the remnants of a long-ago warmer age or pet turtles that have been released.  By the way, releasing pets of any kind into the wild is never a good idea, as it is not only illegal but endangers both the pet and native wildlife.