Saturday, October 1, 2011

An Eastern Box Turtle among a flurry of autumn leaves...

Thursday afternoon found me along the Little Miami Bike Trail. Trees were dripping with water from an earlier shower, and the pavement was wet. Each gust of wind that raced through the branches brought down a flurry of golden-colored leaves, and the crisp energy of Autumn danced everywhere...

Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina
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.

...stay safe boxer man!

19 comments:

Birding is Fun! said...

Wonderful photo of that cute box turtle. I love the detail...down to the red iris of the eye.

Jenny wren's nest said...

he is so beautiful, I love your photography.
Jenny

TexWisGirl said...

he is so beautiful! love the little face!!!

Bob Bushell said...

He/she is beautiful, a lovely life.

Kerri said...

A Handsome Dude!! Great captures!

Carole Meisenhelter said...

..how special to share this moment with you; all from so far away. Today's technology has so many advantages (even though they tell us it's not good for us :)). Thanks for sharing Kelly; always love to see your spectacular photos; you seem to get to places many of us will never venture.

American Swede Photography said...

Thanks for the great idea! -- Several people in my family are big birders, so guess what they're getting for Christmas?!

Wanda..... said...

He has an extremely pretty shell pattern, Kelly. I try to keep a record of the ones I come across each year.

Sue said...

Beautiful pictures Kelly, though he doesn't seem to appreciate being the subject.
Turtle Rescue!
:)

Lois Evensen said...

What a pretty fellow. I love those eyes. :)

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

As always your turtles are beautifully captured with lots of character. Just a great post.

Guy

KAT said...

that was nice of you to help him along. he has a great looking shell...I never heard that stuff about camouflage before ... your so very interesting to read ! Happy Autumn
- KAT -

Janice K said...

That first picture is too cute for words. Fabulous!

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! I always love finding box turtles. When we were kids there were so many, but now, not so much. The are beautiful with their deep rich colors and armor plating! (For those of you who asked...a red eye usually (but not always) indicates a male. That's why I assumed this was a male.)

Garden Lily said...

Kelly - Those first two photos are absolutely amazing! I feel like I could just reach out and touch him.

Claire M said...

Absolutely awesome photos of your little turtle friend. I love the first one where you can see his eyes!!

What sort of camera do you have to capture these amazing photos?

P.S. We used to have 2 red slider turtles in our backyard pond.

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

God put you there in just the right moment to protect his creation. Outstanding to see this little fellow up close, look at his eyes.

Mary said...

I love the nose to nose shots :-) What great close-ups!

E said...

Beautiful "tortuguita" love it! well done, Kelly, well done!