Friday, June 26, 2009

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

I’ve seen two Eastern Box turtles this year. The first time, pictured here, it was crossing the path that runs along beside the creek. I almost missed it as it was camouflaged in the shade against the leaf litter. I took these photographs and continued along to the pool. I didn’t spend very long at the pool and fully expected to see the turtle on my way back. But it made tracks after I left; I didn’t see it again.

I saw the second turtle on the path just below the house. She was in the process of digging a hole and looked to be about ready to lay her eggs. I took this photo and went on down to the creek.

I was hoping that she would have finished laying by the time I came back up the path. I planned to mark the place so that we could monitor it until the eggs hatched. Unfortunately, or fortunately, she chose not to lay the eggs there. She had abandoned the hole when I came back up the path. This wasn’t really the best place to lay eggs.

This isn’t the first time that Eastern Box turtles have laid eggs on our property. Soon after we moved here in the mid1980s, we discovered three hatchlings emerging from a nest not more than 50 ft from the house.

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