One of the most popular creatures to discover on the H2O Alligator and Wildlife Tour in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve is the Yellow-Bellied Pond Slider Turtle. These iconic Southern reptiles are known for their unmistakable, bright-yellow undersides and are a beautiful reminder of how vibrant and colorful our local wildlife can be.
Yellow-Bellied Pond Sliders are native to the Lowcountry and a vital component of our local ecosystem.
These turtles mainly eat plants, controlling the algae which blooms and grows on the ponds within the Forest Preserve. Yellow-Bellied Pond Sliders also provide a key source of protein for alligators. Although the turtles are not the gator’s main source of food, they do provide a consistent source of protein for these apex predators. Still, turtles and alligators can often be seen basking in the sun together or sharing a log, particularly when temperatures are cooler and sunning is vital for both reptiles to survive.
Capable of living up to 30 years in the wild, Yellow-Bellied Pond Sliders consistently lay eggs throughout the year. This activity allows them to sustain a strong local population which is fundamental to the survival and health of the ecosystem. These turtles are numerous throughout the Sea Pines Forest Preserve and tour patrons stand a very good chance of observing them in their natural environment.
Together, with all the animals that call the Preserve home, Yellow-Bellied Pond Slider Turtles are a just another piece of our enchanting ecosystem and one of many organisms that make the Sea Pines Forest Preserve such a unique place to visit on Hilton Head Island.
We hope you will join us on one of our Nature Tours, where you can learn not only about these turtles, but all the animals inhabiting the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.
By Anthony R. Savarese, Reel Carolina
H2O Sports in Harbour Town is a great place to spark curiosity and inspire learning through adventure for all ages. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour or the Wine & Cheese Sunset Alligator Tour, please call (843) 671-4386. For details on other water activities offered by H2O Sports, visit h2osports.com.