Tag Archives: Eastern Box Turtle

Monthly Journal – June, 2016

June was hot and dry.  Everybody’s looking for shade and water.  As a follow up to our last post, Bruce Hallett sent us three great photos of one of the juvenile Cooper’s Hawks enjoying his birdbath, which are below.  There is still nesting going on and the birdhouse on the Nature Trail closest to the garden area has a brood of Carolina Wren chicks.  They are keeping their parents busy and making so much noise you can hear them 25 feet away.  Remember there are those who are just beginning to nest, such as American Goldfinches ( see our blog from July last year Late Starters).

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

Slow, Turtles

Turtle Crossing

Reminder to slow down and watch for turtles crossing the street

Not Slow Turtles.  But slow down all you hares, there may be a turtle crossing the road.  Most likely in this area it’s an Eastern Box Turtle.

This is the season when they start to come out and explore and look for a mate.  They will move back and forth between areas in the neighborhood where there is water, and sometimes that means crossing the street.

We have this sign on a power pole across from us and another further down facing the other way.  People do notice, but when you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to forget.

Turtle

Boxer the turtle in our pond

Meet Boxer (clever name huh?).  He shows up every year to hang out in our pond.  Turtles are territorial and every year we hear what sounds like knocking at the front door.  It’s Boxer challenging his competition, which is really just his reflection in the brass kick plate.

Did you know that box turtles can live for up to 40 years? Hatchlings are very secretive and you might not ever see one until they are two years old.

We’re pulling for Boxer to keep winning the race.