Tuesday, August 6, 2019,
This is an Eastern Box Turtle. I encountered this little lady at Sweetbriar Nature Center. She’s not quite a full-grown adult yet. While no longer a baby, she still has at least an inch to grow.
I was able to discern her gender using two methods. The first, which is not foolproof, concerns the color of the eyes. Males tend to have bright red or orange irises, whereas females usually have brown eyes. A more certain method of determining the sex of a Box Turtle is to pick the turtle up and have a good look at the plastron, or bottom shell. The plastrons of the males are concave which comes in handy during mating.
There are a few more methods that can be used to differentiate between male and female Box Turtles but, judging by the look she’s giving me here, perhaps enough is enough. Maybe that conversation can wait for another day. JK
Tuesday, July 30, 2019,
This is another Diamondback Terrapin that I found at West Meadow Creek in Setauket. I realize that from the angle that I took this photo that this turtle may look small but this is a case in which looks are deceiving. This beauty is a full grown female Terrapin and she is returning to the creek after having laid her eggs on shore. JK
Thursday, July 18, 2019,
This is a female Diamondback Terrapin. She’s heading back to the West Meadow Creek after nesting. Terrapins are coastal water turtles and it’s only the females that leave the water. These are not pleasure trips. In fact, it’s all business – the business of continuing the species. The females leave the relative safety of the water to risk predation by animals like foxes and raccoons and many others. They do this in order to find a safe place to lay their eggs so that another generation of Terrapins can follow in her footsteps. JK
Monday, July 15, 2019,
This is a female Eastern Box Turtle that I found at West Meadow Beach in Setauket. The reason I know she’s female is that she was starting to dig a nest when I found her. There are other ways to discern the gender of a Box Turtle but nesting behavior is generally a dead giveaway. JK
Thursday, July 11, 2019,
This is a female Diamondback Terrapin. She’s digging a hole in which she will probably lay her eggs. Sometimes a Terrapin will dig several test holes before deciding that she has found the right place or the proper consistency of sand. Think Goldilocks and porridge. JK