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.