Sunday, September 4, 2011
I had never seen a box turtle this small before, and I imagine she is just a few weeks old. I've seen hundreds of the adults over the years; they can be reasonably easy to find. My hunch is that the hatchlings quickly go into hiding and stay in very dense cover and don't wander much. It's good that John found her, and not someone else. A ridiculous number of these charismatic turtles are taken from the wild each year and become "pets". Harvesting box turtles from the wild is a despicable act and isn't legal, either, at least in Ohio. Far too many are mowed down by vehicles each year as well. These reptiles aren't exactly speedy and are sitting ducks when they try to cross roadways. CLICK HERE for a post about that.
We liberated this little turtle in the exact same spot in which it was found. Box turtles keep a very small home range, and it's important not to take them far afield and release them in new turf. They're going to do best on their home ground, and if it is an adult that is relocated, that might be a turtle who has resided on the same football field-sized patch for decades before being uprooted.
This little box turtle certainly enriched our lives, and I hope she goes on to slowly crawl many miles and eat lots of mushrooms, bugs, and plants in her career. I certainly hope that she outlasts me!