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Color Enhancement Experiment


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Posted by Accomplice on December 14, 2002 at 00:29:59:

I've noticed over the years that turtles tend to be able to make slight changes to the color of their shells to match the color of their tank. Keep an alligator snapper in a tan tub and his shell starts to lean towards the caramel color. Conversely, keep him in a black plastic tub and he'll get darker over time. As I've studied live animals and even pics on the net you can start to see the trend. The local museum has a alligator snapper set-up with (fake?) grey rocks with light specks in the backdrop. The turtle that's lived there since 1994 has an almost identical shade to its shell. I'd bet that you could take two hatchlings from the same batch and raise one in a light colored tub and the other in a darker tub and see a distinct difference between the turtles after a few months. That said, using a container or substrate with lighter colors like white river rock probably would leave dark turtles like snappers feeling very insecure. What I want to do with my next set-up is to 'encourage' further development of my turtles pink/ purple patches. Since its hard to find liners in the right colors, I'm going to find some flat slate-like rocks that are pink/ purple from my local pond store. I'll lay them out and cover the entire bottom of the tank. It would be easy to poor a bunch of lava rock in as the color would be perfect. But the turtle's shell would get torn up. What I want is a flat stone that can develop a slick film after being in the tank for a while. These things are used to muddy/ sandy bayou bottoms so even the slickest rocks are probably still a bit 'hard' and inpenetrable from the turts point of view. I can't think of a way to have a soft bottom and clear water. I've located a nice, real, semi-hollow log that I'm going to drop in as a hide. I'll try to get a 'before' shot of him in controlled, indoor light and an 'after' shot under the same conditions with the same camera after a few months. Anybody else ever note a turtle's ability to slowly alter its hue?


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