Monday, August 1, 2011

Why did the turtle cross the road?

I would have to think he did because he wanted me to write about him.  The other day I was leaving to run to town to take care of some errands and I've learned that its best to bring a camera along.  This Eastern Box Turtle was starting to make its way across the road~~of course I had to pull over and take a look.  It really did put a smile on my face when I realized it was so close to the speed limit sign.  This will probably qualify as a turtle rescue--there have been a few this year--pulling turtles off of busy highways.  And although its posted at 20 MPH not many people pay attention.  Even the school bus driver thinks he's trying to qualify for a NASCAR race when he comes through.

The shells of these turtles are just so beautiful. Such wonderful color and design. 

When I first took an interest in the workings of nature and bought loads of books to learn about the wonderful creatures around me, one of them was a book on reptiles and amphibians, their life histories and such.  Unlike mammals and most birds, reptiles show little outward signs of their gender.  With box turtles, eye color can sometimes be a determining factor along with the shape of the upper shell.  If the tail is visible, the male's are usually longer and wider than the females--although it would be difficult to compare without multiple samples. Here's a way to distiguish the two sexes.  The underside of the shell, known as the planstron will be concave in males and flat in females.  So--this one looks to be a boy.

These turtles have another wonderful design and that they can completely close themselves into their shells in case of danger--the planstrom is hinged to allow this.

Time to let him go.  After a few minutes I moved him over to the other side for some peace and quiet.  When moving turtles out of harms way--most likely a roadway, its important to move them in the direction that they were travelling--not back where they were since they will set out again.  There's a reason they were heading the way they were.


Art and Sew Forth said...

I love box turtles I have only seen them a few times. Usually in the woods, kind of by accident. Very pretty and they just seem to be friendlier!

Celtic Cat said...

Nice blog post with great photos too!