Dew Drops on Hot-Tub Covers and Turtles on Warm Rocks

A heavy dew overnight leaves thousands of droplets on the hot-tub cover. After years of science classes I can say that I know where that water comes from, although I’d be hard pressed to convert that vague intuition into a clear explanation. Much of what I think I know is like that: not wrong, but not detailed enough to be helpful.

A small pond hosts at least 40 turtles, counting only the ones out sunning themselves on the rocks and the concrete edging of a pond in the middle of an urban neighbourhood in the middle of a desert. After years of casual observation I can say that I know where those turtles *must* have come from–from someone seeding that artificial pond with baby turtles–but I’d be hard pressed to convert that assumption into a conviction (I’ve seen a lot of artificial ponds with turtles in them). Much of what I think I know is like that, too: not unreasonable, but not confirmed.

If pressed hard, I would say that I’m pretty sure that neither the droplets nor the turtles fell from the sky. So that’s something.


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10 Responses to Dew Drops on Hot-Tub Covers and Turtles on Warm Rocks

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    I’m fascinated by the left-hand picture, of the way a rolling drop of dew leaves its own trail of slightly larger dew drops behind it. There must be someone’s Law of Surface Tension, somewhere, somehow, that defines how big droplets can be before they split.

    And I’m sure that could turn into a parable of sorts, after I’ve had my first cup of coffee.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Far be it from me to get in the way of a parable, but what you can’t tell from the photo is that the surface is horizontal, so I don’t think there was any rolling here. Just the magic appearance of water droplets: out of thin air, as it were. Maybe that could work as a parable?

  2. Jim Robertson says:

    I think it is far better to have an understanding than be able to explain in detail why things occur…. My head would hurt with the effort to learn and retain the detailed knowledge.

    I’ll bet at least some of the turtles are pet store turtles (red-eared sliders) released by their owners.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – 🙂 I think your turtle-origin guess is a good one. I hadn’t though of that. I was picturing brigades of turtles crawling across the landscape – Boys, keep going, there’s a pond just ahead! – or companies contracted to “seed” these ponds. Both seemed unlikely . . .

  3. Alison says:

    Hmm – seems to me that they don’t allow them to sell Pet store turtles anymore? in Canada anyways – due to the high risk of Salmonella when handling them. Due to my mum’s allergies, and my love of pets, a DID have a turtle when I was young – Dinky was his name – and I loved him. But, a dog is a MUCH better pet!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Alison – A quick google suggests that you can still buy a pet turtle in Canada and the USA, although I’m always looking for (and rarely finding) the posting date of content. I expect I could google how to do that, also. 🙂 We had turtles and white mice, and I agree with you – dogs (& cats) are much better pets.

  4. Tom Watson says:

    I love the picture of the turtles on the rock!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Thanks! There was a mallard swimming in the area, creating ripples, so I had to work fast!

  5. John L Whitman says:

    Isabel – as for me, I now have a picture firmly fixed in my mind of a storm where turtles are falling from the sky instead of rain drops. Bad for all concerned.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – Sort of a “raining cats and dogs” motif? That got me to thinking about how different languages describe heavy rain. Many use the “it’s raining buckets” or similar, but some are more creative. French & Polish: It’s raining frogs. And my favourite is Faroese: It’s raining pilot whales. I think we could start “It’s raining turtles” and see if it catches on.

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