Amid the tumult and excitement of our first "autumn-y" day, this male boxer lumbered across the paved bike trail oblivious to the dangers around him. When I spotted him I said, "Hurry up little guy. A biker isn't going to see you hidden in these leaves!" I barely saw him, and I was walking slowly, limping along with my flat-tire of an ankle. He was partially obscured by one of the recent leaf flurries, and although he seemed to feel secure, he was a disaster in the making--for himself and any biker who ran over him!
When I picked him up and moved him to the woods on the other side of the trail, he pulled back into his shell and partially closed his hinged plastron (lower shell). This defensive move is how he got his name. A simple "Boo!" on my part would probably have been enough to make him completely draw up the hinged parts of his plastron and securely "box" himself in.
...leaves scattered across the Little Miami Bike trail blended with the boxer's shell and hid him from view.
The carapace (upper shell) of an Eastern Box Turtle exhibits classic camouflage patterns...cryptic (invisibility by blending in), disruptive razzle-dazzle (eye-catching colors that confuse size, shape and number of objects in a group), and even countershading (lighter colors that appear in normally darker areas and vice-versa, distorting depth perception). Click here for a Wikipedia entry on the theory of camouflage.