Bird Watching

Turtle slapping video: 2 Philadelphia turtles caught flirting become darlings of viral video

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – Two Philadelphia turtles are completely unaware that they are viral superstars.

South Philadelphia comedian Jamie Dads was birdwatching at the Heinz National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday when she filmed what she thought was a fun moment between the two turtles at a local wildlife refuge, and people can’t stop sharing it.

The cute and curious clip has gone extremely viral.

In it, you can see one turtle somehow slapping the other in the face, repeatedly. But experts say they don’t fight, they flirt.

“It’s part of their springtime courtship ritual or courtship,” said Garrett White, a bioscience technician at The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum, a 1,000-acre sanctuary in southwest Philadelphia. It is part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The male tries to attract the female and choose her as a mate, so he shows off a bit. He shows his claws, which help him protect his territory by digging holes and searching for food.”

Pappas posted his video of the Eastern Painted Turtles flirting on Twitter, saying it was “by far the funniest thing I’ve seen happen all year”.

Right now, her video has over 4.5 million views.

One of his commenters replied, “They’re going to do little turtles, it’s EXTREMELY PRIVATE.”

“I will say they continued what was happening below deck, so I gave them their privacy,” Pappas said. “Hopefully in a few weeks, or when I return, there may be baby turtles that I can take pictures of and complete this true love story.”

Pappas is also happy that people realize that Heinz Wildlife Refuge is right here in our city, just steps from Philadelphia International Airport. The shelter celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer.

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