A great find

Written by Doug Oster on .


It's always a big day around our house when a box turtle is spotted. Last night my wife was walking in the woods at dusk and saw one so she ran down to the house to inform the family. By the time we got back up to the top of the hill where the turtle was spotted, we couldn't find it. The combination of camouflage and low light made the turtle disappear.

This morning, while letting the chickens out, this box turtle was in the chicken run, probably feasting on something left over from the scraps we left the chickens. Just about every year we've lived here, we've seen a box turtle, and many times the same turtle. They can be identified by anomalies on their shells.

Box turtles can live past 100 and establish a small territory of about an acre. There could be 12 turtles in that acre; they just hope to bump into each other to mate.

I love seeing them and hope I get to see an old male we call Shelly that we've run across just about every year for the past 12.

In the top photo, Max carefully looks at this new female from a distance.

How to you tell the difference between the sexes? It's all in the eyes, males have luminescent red pigments.

Box turtles are on the decline due to lack of habitat, I hope they will prosper in my woods.


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