I went on a walk yesterday with two of my grandsons in a patch of woods near a small creek – perfect habitat for turtles! We were admiring the wildflowers when we noticed a turtle half-hidden under leaf litter. I gently lifted the turtle from the leaves so the boys could get a close look at this handsome Eastern box turtle. He tucked his head and legs inside his shell, but after a few minutes, he relaxed and let me snap his picture.
Box turtles remain in the same two- to three-acre area as long as they have food, water, and other turtles to mate with. In winter, they hibernate under leaf litter or grass clumps. Populations are declining due to the use of pesticides, loss of habitat, and people removing them from the wild for pets (where they often suffer malnutrition and death).
We found this little guy about 5 o’clock in the evening. The temps are going down into the low 40s tonight, so he is probably digging in under the leaves to stay warm. We put him back where we found him so he could burrow in for the night.
Cool Fact: Box turtles reach sexual maturity at 5-7 years and have been known to live 100 years!