A Very Handsome Box Turtle

Wednesday, July 22, 2020,

This is a male Eastern Box Turtle. Look at those colors. Is he not magnificent? I very nearly missed seeing this handsome brute. In fact, were it not for younger eyes than mine, I would probably not be showing off this guy to you.

I had been hiking through Morton Refuge when I decided to rest my legs on one of the benches. I’m a big fan of benches. The older I get, the more I appreciate a good bench. So I’m sitting there on my bench, when a young man of maybe eight or ten years and his Grandmother came walking up along the same trail I’d walked not ten minutes previous. We exchanged pleasantries and the youngster mentioned seeing a turtle. I asked where and he showed me the spot not thirty feet away. A quick search and there he was, in all his orange and yellow glory.

The turtle got a bit spooked by our presence and quite sensibly tucked himself in. So I pulled out my collapsible chair – look benches aren’t always exactly where you need them to be – and sat my self down to wait him out. Eventually, he began to emerge from his shell and I was there waiting for him. After a bit, he crossed the trail and headed into an open field. He got to where he was headed and I got these pics.  JK.

JK

Female Box Turtle

Friday, June 12, 2020,

Meet 209. She is a youngish female Eastern Box Turtle that happened across my path as I was walking the grounds at Sweetbriar Nature Center. She’s not yet fully grown but I have met with this particular turtle before. As a long-time volunteer at Sweetbriar, it has been my sometime job to document the Box Turtles that roam the property. As a result, it has been my good luck and fortune to meet many of the free-ranging residents. This is not a captive turtle, but she has been tagged and documented.  JK

JK

A Box Turtle at Sweetbriar

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