During recent events, it became clear that romance hasn’t died among eastern painted turtles, however it is not so smooth sailing either. At least, that was the perspective of a human passerby, who recently witnessed the turtles’ unusual courtship ritual firsthand.
Jamie Amalea Pappas visited Pennsylvania's John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge's freshwater tidal marsh and got the surprise of seeing two turtles engaging in some pretty interesting behaviour. It was a flirting ritual. The one turtle kept swimming backwards in front of the other turtle and approached his companion to slap her on the face. That’s right, it was love as first slap.
“I was fascinated. I thought it was very cute and silly!”
easily the funniest thing I’ve seen happen all year. pic.twitter.com/LLwXdxMT0r— jamie amalea pappas (@jamieamalea) April 30, 2022
Interesting enough, this is actually the way these species flirt with their potential mates. A state biologist, Garrett White, told Philly Mag that, “This video shows two eastern painted turtles in a courtship display. The male is the one doing the ‘slapping.'” And apparently this is the way these male turtles show their interested mate his athletic skills.
And clearly it did just the trick, as both swam off together. “It wouldn’t work on me! But I try not to judge.”