Sunday, September 6, 2009

A box turtle is always a surprise!

...continued from Thursday's walk along the Little Miami River when a fawn was watching me.
Off the trail….about 20 ft into the shadows, a box turtle sat motionless on the hillside beside a steep drop-off to the creek. Surprised I could see something so small from such a distance, especially since he was tucked among green shoots and dark, rotting leaves, my heart jumped! Box turtles are such special creatures. Just looking at them sparks our imaginations and connects us to their prehistoric past, and we can’t help but feel some of their ancient ways seeping from their armored shells, plated legs, and wary eyes...

An eastern box turtle (Terrepenne carolina carolina)
is hidden among leaves and dark detritus.

The box turtle is so named because his plastron
(lower shell) is hinged, and both the front and back
portions can be pulled up tightly against his carapace
(upper shell), encasing him in a protective "box."

The box turtle's slow and gentle nature invites study.
If you are quiet and unobtrusive, boxers will sit
willingly without closing up in their shells, eventually
lumbering away when they are sure you are not a threat.

30 comments:

holdingmoments said...

Certainly got some good camouflage, blending in with the fallen leaves.
Lovely shots Kelly; he does look a little grumpy in the second lol

Kelly said...

Keith...hahaha....not "grumpy," he's curmudgeonly. He does have the weight of the world on his shoulders after all (or at least his shell)......and no doubt carrying around all those ancient stories gets a bit trying too! :-D

Elaine said...

Oh, yes, he does look curmudgeonly! Lovely photos. He is such a handsome turtle too.

Sue said...

I just love turtles.....they take life at such a gently pace. They obviously don't drink coffee!
:D

Roy said...

Great shots, Kelly! I grew up with Box Turtles down in MD and PA, but we don't have any here on Aquidneck Island. We do have Painted Turtles, though.

JKoenig said...

Good eyes, Kelly. If those leaves had started turning yellow and brown, he would have been almost invisable. His coloring is really very pretty.

Laure Ferlita said...

I knew you had "good eyes" just from the photos you take, but to see this fellow from 20 feet and him not moving? THAT'S VERY GOOD!

He blends right in! Love the word portrait as well! ~ L

forestal said...

Great info and pictures on a cute (i like the grouchy ones :) ) guy

dan

Ginnymo said...

Great shots of this turtle Kelly!!! I always wished I hadn't gotten my "African Sideneck" I hate seeing him in captivity and wish he could be in the wild where he belongs. He'd never survive now though. He's got two hinges also and turns his head sideways when he backs into his shell, which he seldom does unless caught off guard and frightened. I am always trying to find a new home for him but it's hard. And I won't give him to kids. They need more care than people realize. He would never live in a pond in the winter either, like these box turtles do. I love turtles. Great post Kelly!

Busy Bee Suz said...

He is so cute. I also love turtles and am deeply saddened when I see them on the road. I hope he had a great day seeing you too.

Warren Baker said...

hmmmm....got me thinking - I wihs I had a box to hide up into sometimes!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Interesting, Kel... He 'thought' he was hiding --but NOT from YOU... ha

We had a large turtle meander through our front yard about a year or two ago. I blogged about it sometime along the line. I'll have to look for that blog. I've never seen one since. I was excited to see him that day.

Hugs,
Betsy

John said...

Great Photos Kelly,

He is such a stunning little chap, even if he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Love that bloodshot eye..you are very lucky to have such stunning wildlife so close to you.

John

TantraPM said...

Box turtles are unfortunately becoming more and more rare. You are so lucky to have spotted him. You can tell it is a male by his fiery eyes.

Ginnymo is correct that turtles belong in the wild. They are so vulnerable to being taken from their environment, and often die a slow death in captivity.

This guy looks so happy!

Chris Petrak said...

I'm catching up (again!) - love the series on AMGO - we've got the young around also, plus lots of waxwings. Others seem to be on second broods as well - downies, rose-breasted, cardinals, to name just a few.

Roy said...

Colourful shell Kelly, looks almost as if it shouldn't be in the wild.

Steve said...

Great photos and info Kelly. The camoflage, as you say, is excellent, well spotted.

Chris said...

Excellent Kelly, what a nice turtle you got there! And you are right the camouflage seems to be the good one, well no so good, you saw it ;-)

Jayne said...

He's beautiful!

troutbirder said...

I'm with Jayne. He is beautiful! Who would have thought?

Montanagirl said...

My, he's quite attractive! I have never seen a box turtle. Great Cammo suit too.

DK Miller said...

Nice shots of the turtle Kelly. Most people would have walked right by not noticing the turtle. :-) But not you.

Mary said...

Wonderful macros of this turtle. We used to see a lot of box turtles crossing the roads here, but I seldom see one any more. I like the face shot of this one.

Nature As Is said...

Oh Wow Kelly love it! Those eyes, the wonderful shell...so beautiful.

E said...

Beautiful, Kelita, great captures of the "torguga" and the birds, they are all superb, congratulations.

Paula said...

What a wonderful gift! To see such a beautiful creature and to get such great shots ... how lucky!

Teri C said...

That turtle is SO interesting. Even though we live on the lake I have never seen this kind. Great shots.

Allison said...

Such a funny creature--but one that can certainly teach us to take life at a slower pace. I never knew that about their hinge.

Kelly said...

Thank you everyone...again...for all your lovely comments. I remember seeing box turtles all the time when I was a kid, but I lived with a wood and creek in my back yard, now....they are rare. In two years, I've seen two, which is good. I have no idea why he popped out at me, but I'm glad he did. Turtles are amazing creatures, I could study them for hourse...thank goodness they are so obliging!

dAwN said...

What a beauty! What a find!