Randy Chambers says there are probably fewer than 20 to 30 turtles living in Crim Dell, and he’s caught, measured and notched 10 individual turtles. But while Crim Dell may not be a turtle metropolis, it is home to a wide variety of species.
The 25 other universities participating in the Ecological Research as Education Network turtle roundup have logged six species; remarkably each one of those species has been pulled from the pond at Crim Dell this year or last.
“We’ve caught red-bellied sliders, red-eared sliders, yellow-bellied sliders, and a stinkpot,” Chambers said. “We didn’t get any snapping turtles or painted turtles this year, but last year we got two of each.”
He pointed out that William & Mary lies in an area where the ranges of southern and northern species overlap. More importantly, Chambers said the campus is surrounded by water. The James and York rivers and associated tributaries and wetland are all potential source populations for the turtles in Crim Dell.
“It’s pretty amazing that the cumulative species diversity in ponds across 25 college campuses is matched by the diversity of turtles in little ol’ Crim Dell,” Chambers said. “William & Mary should pride itself on the diversity of both scholars and turtles we attract to campus.”