Celebrity reptile spotted back at Johnson Creek after locals worried it went missing

COURTESY PHOTO: CAROL ZYVATKAUSKAS - The Main City Park Turtle is back sunbathing along Johnson Creek.Gresham's most famous reptile has once again been spotted sunning itself along Johnson Creek after a few months of not being seen.

The "Main City Park Turtle" has been spending the last few weeks basking on a log protruding from the creek near the bridge at the western edge of Main City Park, just off Southwest Walters Drive and the Gresham Pioneer Cemetery.

Many had been looking at the turtle's previous haunt off the bridge at mile 16.2 on the trail, so sometime in the spring the turtle relocated downriver. Local wildlife photographer Caz Zyvatkauskas snapped some photos of the celebrity turtle Saturday, July 10, as the reptile was sunbathing.

Red-eared sliders are not native to Gresham, and the turtles are considered one of the most invasive species in the world. The one living in Main City Park was likely someone's pet they dumped into the creek.

It has been cruising Johnson Creek and delighting those on walks through the park since 2017.

Gresham's turtle would have been difficult to spot over the winter because of the extraordinarily cold weather. Red-eared sliders brumate during the winter, which is the reptilian version of hibernating. The turtles stop eating or defecating, remain nearly motionless, and the frequency of their breathing falls. They also spend the majority of their time beneath the surface of the water.

With the turtle relocating, many were worried it hadn't survived the floods, freezing and heat, or local predators like raccoons, coyotes and dogs.

But the Main City Turtle continues to enjoy life on Johnson Creek. The best time to spot the turtle is late mornings on a sunny day.

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