Surprise Hiker

Turtle on the Nature Trail

Eastern Box Turtle on the Nature Trail

You never know who you’re going to run into on the Peachtree Park Nature Trail.  A couple of days ago we came across this little female Eastern Box Turtle crossing from one side of the trail to the other.  Why do we think it’s a female?  Because before she ducked into her shell we got a quick look at her eyes and they were not red.  Males have red eyes.

About a year ago, our neighbor across the street sent us a photo of a baby turtle that he found in his back yard.  Who knows, it could be this same turtle.

Payton's Baby Turtle

Baby Eastern Box Turtle

Turns out that now is a good time to spot box turtles since it’s nesting season. Females nest from May through July laying 1 to 2 clutches of 5 eggs each.  Most hatchlings emerge from the nest in the fall.  Hatchlings are very secretive and are seldom seen until they are 2 or 3 years old. [1]

Habitat loss is their biggest threat.  They are long-lived with established home ranges and favorite habitat patches that they may visit each year at the same time. [1]

When roads fragment the box turtle’s habitat, entire populations can get wiped out.  We know this is true because we have a male box turtle that frequently crosses Darlington Road.  (see our post Slow, Turtles)

Look for these little guys when you walk or drive.  If you find one in the street or on a trail where they might get hit, move them to a safe spot in the direction they were moving.

[1]  Turtles of the Southeast – Kurt Buhlmann, Tacey Tuberville, and Whit Gibbons

4 thoughts on “Surprise Hiker

  1. Steph T

    I saw two little guys a few Saturdays ago, not bigger than my fist, with no yellow markings. Could they be young box turtles?

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  2. Bill Goodhew

    I always knew you were an expert on females…

    Bill Goodhew Home: Phone: 770.394.6070; Fax: 770.396.3759 Cell: 678.571.7304 Note New Email – bgoodhew37@gmail.com

    “Take the advice of the bear – Live large, Eat well, Take long naps, & Take good care of your Honey”

    On Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 9:16 AM, the Intown Hawk wrote:

    > beveritt posted: ” You never know who you’re going to run into on the > Peachtree Park Nature Trail. A couple of days ago we came across this > little female Eastern Box Turtle crossing from one side of the trail to the > other. Why do we think it’s a female? Because befor” >

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