I am an unabashed rescuer of Eastern Box Turtles. Rarely if ever have I missed the chance to potentially save one of these fascinating tortoises from being pancaked by a Chevy pick ‘em up or whatever. You see, turtles are not exactly the Mario Andrettis of the animal world, and a bit of help in times of need are possibly appreciated by the turtle gods, not to mention the turtle itself.
Eastern Box Turtle on a forest road in Shawnee State Forest last Sunday. I moved five of them off the road that day. It was warm and rainy, and the turtles had the spring friskies and were roaming about the landscape as they do in spring. They are especially fond of moving about during wet spells, and this day fit the bill. I risked grievous bodily harm by boldly diving into the road, snaring the turtle and deftly rolling away, just milliseconds before that speeding car would have shattered the turtle into mere fragments of its former self. It was just like a scene from a Jackie Chan movie. Yeah, I know, whatever. There goes our blogger being a goof again.
For if you don’t, the turtle will undoubtedly just have to cross the entire roadway again, and your good intentions will more likely have bad consequences. These armored beasts seem to have a strong directional inclination and specific goals in mind, although I have no idea what those might be. Experts claim that individuals may only wander an area the size of a football field during the course of their entire life, though.
And I do believe Good Karma may come your way with each turtle that you de-road. Box Turtles don’t do anything fast, and that includes dying, unless they get mowed down by a speeding auto. There are documented cases of box turtles living for over a century! Running one over should be a crime, and if it was intentional “Old Sparky” would be a suitable punishment. Doing your part to help a possibly ancient reptile become ancienter can only be good.
This one is a male, as is revealed by the large dimple or indentation in the plastron. This is an adaptation to, uh, well, better “hug” the mommy turtle to make little baby turtles.
With a five-turtle rescue day under my belt, hopefully my turtle karma has spiked for the better.