23 June 2015 – Eastern Box Turtle in Distress

DSC00989This male Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina (L.) Bell ssp. carolina) was trying to get across the hot pavement, but he was running around in circles. It was hard taking these pictures, it was like he didn’t know which way to go. The air temperature was about 95 degrees and I am sure the pavement was even warmer. After I took some quick snaps, I helped him find his way.

DSC00987They are a hinged-shell turtle, meaning that front and back of the plastron (bottom shell) are hinged and close up when they sense they are in danger. The plastron on males are concave to make facilitate mounting a female when mating. Also, the eyes of males are red-orange while the female’s eyes are brownish. This one was obviously male because of his eyes.

DSC00985They range in the USA from Maine to Florida on the east, and the Great Lakes to Texas on the West. They are a true land turtle spending virtually all of their time on land. They can live over 100 years in the wild.

DSC00988Their populations are dwindling mainly due to loss of habitat, the pet trade, and road kill. This little guy was obviously in distress, presumably because of the heat. I feel good about helping him cross the road.

They are a fun critter and are probably the most commonly seen turtle on the roads on the refuge.

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