Friday, June 15, 2012

Box Turtles in the Southern Appalachian's

Box turtles are a common sight around here when the southern air starts to get steamy. Once temperatures rise, hibernation is over and the turtles start digging their way out of the two foot hole they created to survive the winter months.

While hanging out at the house we kept hearing the faint sound of leaves crunching beside us and we were happy to see a box turtle slowly creeping along side the forest line!

By the color of the eyes and the large hump of a shell, we could tell it was a female. The dark red-brownish eyes are features of the females; While yellowish-orange eyes and a less dramatic hump in the shell are common characteristics of male box turtles.

She was a full grown mama at five or six inches long. 

Watch out for these little ones because when it comes to being up against a 5000 lb vehicle, slow and steady doesn't usually win the race. They have 7-10 years of obstacles to overcome before they are mature enough to even have babies. Once reproduction is an option, they will have over 100 eggs in their lifetime of up to 30 years but only 2 or 3 will survive.

So, what can we do to help them keep on, keeping on?  The two best ways to help our turtle friends live long full lives are to watch for them on the roadways and not try to make pets of them.

Happy turtle trails!

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